On Monday May 17th, the UK will be entering the next stage of lockdown restrictions being eased, despite the PM feeling concerned over the new Indian Covid-19 variant.
As we approach this date, some people are feeling more anxious than others over the relaxation, with overnight stays now allowed and mixing of up to 6 people indoors. This comes after Covid cases and deaths have dropped dramatically. Statistics show, that 184,210 people have now had their first dose of the vaccine, and 452,437 people have had both doses. The PM hopes that a “local surge in vaccinations,” can contain the threat of the Indian variant, but also explains that local lockdowns may be necessary to control the strain (The Guardian).
Those who are hoping to go on holiday abroad this Summer, can travel to countries which are on the ‘green list’, which include places such as: Portugal, Singapore, Falkland islands and New Zealand. The Health Secretary confirms that people who have had both Covid vaccinations, can use the NHS app to prove their status. However, a lot of people aren’t even considering going abroad, due to the lengthy quarantine process, and Covid restrictions such as wearing masks and social distancing still in place. Making people put off a ‘hot holiday’ until next year, when they can fully relax.
With such a gradual ease of restrictions in the UK, the new big change in allowing indoor mixing, which has been so long awaited, has caused people to have different reactions and thoughts in terms of the new rules. Jessica Clarke, 19 from Liskeard in Cornwall, has been working at supermarket Morrison’s during the whole pandemic so hasn’t been on furlough payment. She believes that, “restrictions easing is good timing,” but as she has to continue working through these new changes, it’s going to be a lot busier, meaning it will be harder to keep socially distanced. Despite this, she adds that “it will be nice to be able to leave the house for more than work,” as the new relaxations will make socialising with others, much easier.
The majority of people are excited to live a more normal life again, and have started planning things to do during the summer with their friends and loved ones. There has been mention of the ‘3rd wave’, and is something to keep in mind due to the unpredictability of the virus and so called ‘seasonal increases’. Luckily, government modellers believe that a bad third wave of Covid this Summer is “very unlikely”. However, scientists are still not completely sure about next Winter, due to “vaccine resistant variants now the major concern” (The Times). This shows that we can’t predict exactly when the UK will be completely clear of Covid-19.
I have heard from 3rd year Psychology student Beth Hodges, a student at Plymouth Marjon University, who has been focusing on her dissertation, so has been confined to her room to finish her studies. She has had a positive outlook, and has been reminding herself that once it is finished “I can go and see people inside for the first time in ages!”. Although she still wants to social distance and be careful, she can’t wait “to be able to socialise with some normality,” and visit her grandparents whilst remaining cautious. This is something a lot of people in the UK have been waiting to do for a long time, whilst restrictions have been in place. Beth feels the government have made the right decision to “branch out a bit more and lift the restrictions,” even though it will feel a bit strange having people in the house again.
As these changes occur in the UK, it will affect different people in different ways, with some wanting to remain more cautious than others and make sure they are adhering to the rules. This needs to happen in order to control the spread, and to help normality resume as soon as possible.