This Tuesday another phase of domestic confinement was opened in the United Kingdom to try to stop the escalation of covid-19, while the vaccination campaign among the most vulnerable groups intensifies and, at the same time, frustration and distrust among citizens grows . “Horrible”. It is the response of Sharon, a young Londoner, to the return of the confinement regime, the third that has been imposed in England since March. He lives with three school-age children and few resources to educate them at home. “It’s horrible,” he repeats. How can you say on Sunday that children should go to school and appear on television the following night announcing the closure of all schools? It’s frustrating”.
He refers to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who this week made the umpteenth sharp change in strategy in the face of the pandemic. Even in the last hours he insisted that “schools are safe” and justified the closure of the public sector as a necessary action due to the incessant penetration of the highly contagious new strain of coronavirus. More than a million people are infected in the country, with 60,916 positive diagnoses and 830 deaths on the eve of Kings. The hospitalization curve has climbed 33% in the last week in England.
Each British nation applies its own recipe book of restrictions, although all four agree on the suspension of almost all non-essential activities and the obligation to be at home whenever possible. In England you are allowed to go out to exercise, go to mass, attend a medical appointment and buy food and other basic products. It’s much worse than the first time, or so I feel. So it was a novelty and I told my children: ‘We are going to make an effort and comply with all the government rules.’ Now they are unmotivated and have trouble concentrating, ”explains Sharon.
She attributes the drop in initial enthusiasm for facing an unknown challenge to the overnight cancellation of official assessments and exams, as well as the logistics that force her children to take turns to use the family computer and be able to connect with their teachers. Adventure a few hard weeks locked in the apartment and without seeing friends.
“Time doesn’t help keep your spirits up either,” agrees Tony, a recently retired scientist. He struggles to walk every morning, but mud and puddles prevent him from repeating the routes of the first confinement when the sun shone almost constantly. “I have to go through residential areas and many people ignore the rules and recommendations,” he complains. His neighbor, Brian, believes that the toughest limitations are unavoidable and violators should be arrested and punished. From now on, the Police may impose fines of about 200 euros up to a maximum of 6,500 euros.
‘No end in sight’, proclaimed the ‘Daily Mail’, a conservative newspaper and opposed to the restrictions. In fact, the expiration date of the third lockdown has not been announced, just the hope that it can relax as all vulnerable sectors are immunized. Johnson sets that goal for mid-February, when a first dose would have been administered to 12.2 million people. “I hope this is not another broken promise from the prime minister,” said Labor leader Keir Starmer.
The Parliament of Westminster will give its consent this Wednesday to the national quarantine plan. It will be an a posteriori vote that will interrupt the Christmas break. But no surprises are anticipated for the Government given the critical data that the pandemic throws up every day. However, they remain reluctant among Conservative MPs, who ask the prime minister for explanations.
For this they are protected under the self-proclaimed Covid Recovery Group. Its president, Mark Harper, tweeted days ago: “The Government must establish exactly how the deployment of vaccination will turn into a return to normal life for all in 2021, how and when the restrictions will be lifted and when our freedoms and economic and health prospects ”.
In this context, the Government’s chief medical adviser, Chris Witty, announced on Monday that the restrictions will possibly be maintained intermittently, with low peaks in spring and high in the winter, at least until an ‘admissible’ degree of tolerance of the risk of contagion. “This coronavirus is not going to disappear, nor has the flu,” he said.