First of all, I would like to say that things here in the UK are not perfect and that we have severe issues and unfortunately we will have a massive economic consequence because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sadly, we surpassed Italy and Spain, and the United Kingdom has the highest death rate caused by the coronavirus in Europe and on a worldwide scale, we are only behind the United States.
There are more than 223,000 people tested positive and unfortunately, more than 32,000 deaths.
We still have over 11.000 people in hospitals, and at this exact day, the estimated number of cases are roughly 160.000, but it is hard to know for sure as there is not test for those people.
But what went wrong here?
I think that presently, it is difficult to know which are the best directions to be taken.
The government says that we should not make comparisons between countries, that each one does the statistics differently, but in my opinion, numbers of deaths are numbers of deaths.
Maybe they just say that to not make the population more anxious or perhaps not to admit that something was done wrong.
Was the lockdown executed too late? Should the government have imposed stricter laws like in Italy and Spain, where no one was allowed to leave home without an authorisation?
But how to explain about the countries that did not have the lockdown and still managed to contain the contagion rate?
Despite all these deaths, no one was left without a hospital bed, without ventilators or without treatment. The NHS was able to attend all patients and this week, London’s Nightingale Hospital – which was built to assist people with COVID-19 – will shut. However, it will be in standby, in case we have a second wave of contagion.
On May 10 Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an announcement, slightly changing the rules of the lockdown here in England.
At this point, the United Kingdom has divided in viewpoint and Scotland, and Wales have decided that they will not yet relax the isolation and Northern Ireland will present its decisions on May 12. England, on the other hand, took a slightly different direction concerning isolation.
Before, only essential workers could leave for work and now, if you really can’t work from home and the workplace follows all the rules of distance, safety and hygiene, they can go back to work.
On May 11, the government presented a document explaining exactly how and which companies could be reopened, such as food factories and other essential sectors, construction, distribution and logistics, as well as research laboratories (see the document here).
On May 13 there will be another announcement, explaining adequately and giving the coordinates for these sectors to reopen safely.
However, the government asked these workers to make an effort not to use public transport, but to go by car, on foot or by bicycle.
In small towns it is easy, but in big cities, it will be tougher.
And how they will do the social distancing in the stations, on the trains and buses is still unknown.
But to make things a little easier, the government will distribute funds so that local authorities can increase the sidewalks, create cycle paths and even close some streets for vehicles and leave it to cyclists and pedestrians only.
This will also be a long term benefit towards a better life style and helping the environment.
Those who are part of sectors that can return to work can again hire the work of babysitters, which until then was prohibited.
But these children will not be able to return to schools. Schools are only open for the children of essential workers.
From May 13, we can go out on the streets and parks to do exercises, but where before it was for only 1 hour and now it will be for an unlimited time, as well as being allowed to sit and sunbathe in the parks.
You can also practice some sports, as long as it is only with people who live in the same household or with a person from another house, as long as you keep the distance of 2 meters apart (games like tennis and such).
Nobody can visit anyone yet, but if you want to meet someone outdoors, keeping a distance of 2 meters, you can.
But it has to be one person at a time, for example, if you want to meet your parents, you can see one parent at a time, not both at the same time.
This seems weird, but possibly it’s to try to restrain people as much as possible and not have too many people going out at the same time.
Another change is that you can drive to visit someone who lives a little further away (there is no restriction regarding distance, as in France, where they can only travel up to 100km), but without entering Scotland, Ireland or Wales.
I recall again that this visit is crucial to be outdoors and 2 meters away from each other.
This is nice for those who have elderly relatives who live far away, so they can at least see each other, even if from a distance.
The fact that it can only be done outdoors is because it has been proven that the virus dissipates faster in the open air, but in closed places, the virus stays more concentrated and in the air for longer. And the more exposed for a more extended period, the greater the chances of contagion making the person more ill.
This is even one of the reasons why some people get only minor symptoms and others are in a more critical state: the exposure time is one of the factors, among many others, of course.
Another modification is regarding the use of masks, which must be used in places where there is no way to make the necessary social distance and, it is not mandatory. Still, they are asking to use it in public transport, supermarkets and other places that may reopen.
Remembering that the mask helps to protect others, as we must not forget that there are asymptomatic people and that without knowing it, they are spreading the virus.
But if you have the symptoms, please do not leave the house, isolate yourself and tell everyone with whom you had contact. Thus it helps to reduce the fast contagion among people.
Boris also announced a plan for the coming weeks, making it very clear that these plans will depend a lot on how the rates of contagion and deaths will be with these small new measures and even the lockdown may be more restricted if these rates rise.
The initial plan, at the beginning of June, some stores will be able to reopen, and some children of certain ages will return to classes.
The strangest thing that is causing a lot of controversies is that the chosen children were the youngest, which does not make sense, because with them it is much more challenging to be able to maintain the required distance.
In this phase, possibly some sports may start again, as long as they are in closed doors and without a public.
Also in larger cities, like London, some tube, train and bus lines will reopen.
In early July, if these rates are still falling, some restaurants and bars, in addition to other public places, such as hairdressers, beauty salons and such, may reopen, with new rules and restrictions of course.
Furthermore, from the end of May, whoever comes to England, will have to be in isolation for 14 days.
This may not apply to France. Which in my opinion, honestly does not make sense, because whoever wants to enter the country, will try to enter from France, to avoid this quarantine.
But all of this is still incredibly vague and will depend on several factors.
The only certain thing is that for the next few months our lives will be on hold and we will have to adapt as things transition.
I find it very difficult to judge and criticise because the situation is very delicate, and unfortunately, there is no right or wrong.
How about you? What do you think of the new measures? How has this lockdown affected you? Leave your comment below.
An excellent week for all of us!
This post is also available in: Português