Let’s be honest. We can’t hear or talk about the coronavirus pandemic any more.
The situation remains critical, but we must agree that the most of us are already exhausted, both physically and mentally.
It is challenging to stay at home, but it is difficult to go to work in fear. It is difficult to stay away from family and friends, but being around creates anxiety and concern of being infected or someone having this virus that nobody understands yet.
In reality, we no longer know how to behave, nor do we know what is right or wrong, and each one goes on living as better as we can.
Here in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech on the 10th and 11th of May did not help much, as he was not clear and the population was not sure about the new rules of conduct. And as each one interprets differently, part of the people understood that we are now free to move around and part understood that we are not.
Though if we read the new guidances here, everything is self-explanatory and it explains which businesses can reopen, what security measures they must take it and how the general population must remain alert and control the virus (the new motto here).
On Saturday, after 8 weeks at home, we drove around central London. I wanted to see how the city was and if people were respecting social distance and doing their part.
I want to make it very clear that car rides are allowed and that we got out of the car only to pick up a purchase and even so, keeping the 2 meters distance, which by the way is very strange because we want to get close, greet, hug and no longer can do it.
Anyway, we drove past Greenwich Park, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Picadilly, Oxford Street and City of London. There was a certain amount of car traffic on some streets, but nothing compared to normal.
What caught my attention is that there were more bicycles than cars, many people, cycling through the streets and at the tourist attractions mentioned above, loads of people were walking.
This is the problem of big cities, numerous people go out at the same time, and as much as people try, it was clear that on the sidewalks, there was no way to make the 2 meters distance that should be done.
But even with the city quite busy, it was strange to see London, which is always crowded, with hellish traffic, with hundreds of people walking to and from shops and restaurants, and suddenly, all these places closed.
Walking, doing exercises and being outdoors for unlimited time is now allowed as I’ve explained in this post here.
However, the government is asking people to stay at home as much as possible and if not, try to avoid public transport.
Regarding public transport in London, these are gradually returning to their regular capacity, some stations are reopening, and buses routes are returning to normal schedules.
However, new control measures will be introduced, such as queues at stations and to get in the tube and trains, in case these get too busy.
The TFL made a list of the busiest stations and times, for people to try to avoid them. Check it here.
Some UK train companies will block seats to ensure passengers are spread out. It is also possible that if a train becomes overcrowded, it will not stop at other stops along its routes.
And more radical measures are being considered, such as passengers reserving slots for when they arrive at a station.
Regarding schools, the initial idea is to reopen on June 1st, for students between 3 and 5 years old and 10 and 11 years old. Each class will be split into groups of 15 students, alternating the days, with possible shorter time and several other measures of distance, safety and hygiene.
The Department of Education has sent a survey to the parents asking if they feel comfortable sending children back to school, what dates they would prefer and some other questions.
Additionally, they sent instructions on how they intend to do it, to be able to follow these measures required by the government.
And if schools reopen in June or July, parents will not be compelled and will not receive a fine if they do not send their children back to schools on those dates.
Here in the UK, children are obliged to go to school. If a child is absent, you need to notify the school, and without justification, parents pay fines and can be prosecuted.
On May 12th, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the furlough scheme to help workers who were put on leave due to the crisis generated by the pandemic would be extended until October this year.
More then 7.5 million workers are benefiting from it since March, with the government paying 80% of wages up to £ 2,500 a month.
Despite this benefit, the employer will not be obliged to keep these people’s jobs after the scheme ends and many of these companies will unfortunately not even be able to reopen, thus leaving hundreds of people unemployed.
The figures show that more than 800,000 people are claiming unemployment benefits in April, rising to more than 2.1 million people in total.
As I previously mentioned, unfortunately, the UK is the place with the highest number of deaths in Europe, with more than 35.000 who died and more than 248.000 tested positive with the coronavirus, where almost 90% of cases here in England.
Recalling that these numbers are of cases that were confirmed positive, but it is estimated that these numbers are much higher, since several people died, of underlying problems, but the virus intensified that.
To explain, a person may have a heart condition, asthma or something else and may have caught the virus and had not been tested. But because the person was more debilitated, they died, so on the death record shows that disease and not the COVID-19.
Despite these alarming numbers, the daily number of deaths has been gradually decreasing, and at the moment, the UK has under 10.000 patients hospitalized with coronavirus.
IMPORTANT: the government added to the list of symptoms, in addition to cough and fever, the loss of smell or taste. Therefore if you have any of these symptoms, you should isolate for 7 days.
We have good news for football fans!
Premier League clubs took a vote on the 18th, where they agreed that safety protocols are satisfactory for the approval of the training return plan (in small groups).
These protocols are about social distancing rules and a series of strict criteria, which include moving house and driving to training camps on their own.
As it was approved, the players returned training in groups of five on and if all goes well, in theory, they would like to resume the tournament on June 12th. These matches, would be without public, behind closed doors, but the broadcasters possibly would not charge and broadcasting for free.
Remember I had mentioned about Captain Tom Moore?
Well, the war veteran raised more than £32 million for NHS charities, walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday in April.
To praise his efforts, a petition was created, and on May 20th he was accepted by the Queen to receive the knighthood.
The knighthood is a title that is given by a member of the Royal Family, to a man or woman, for their achievements or service to the country, for the courage shown in civic life, business, sporting or creative achievements, community service or royalty.
A man who receives the knighthood can put ‘Sir’ in front of his name and ‘Dame’ in the case of women.
Famous people like Emma Thompson, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Julie Andrews, Elton John, Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins, Paul McCartney, Daniel Day-Lewis among many others, have this title.
Concerning airlines, several of them are preparing to increase their flight in June or July, since several countries are gradually and very cautiously trying to reopen their borders so that the tourism sector is back on track.
On the 21st, Heathrow Airport will begin testing some passengers in Terminal 2, using thermal cameras to check the temperature.
And the rule is already in force that all passengers arriving in the United Kingdom by plane, ferry or train must provide an address where they will remain for two weeks, and they must isolate for 14 days.
If you want to know more about all the measures that the airlines are taking, for the safety of its passengers and employees, EASA – European Aviation Safety Agency has made available a protocol, which you can check here.
As you can see, despite all this uncertain moment, little by little, we are moving towards a slightly less restricted life, although our normal still far from happening.
I hope you have a great day!
This post is also available in: Português