Selfish, reckless members of the British public are still rejecting social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic

Columbia Road Flower Market in East London
Afroze Fatima Zaidi

On 20 March, the prime minister finally announced that restaurants, pubs and gyms must close during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. This is in an effort to implement social distancing and prevent the virus from spreading.

As the pandemic grows, containing the spread of the virus is key. That’s why social distancing is so essential. Having people together in close spaces becomes a catalyst for the virus to spread. However, a lot of people seem to still be oblivious to the risks posed by the virus. They don’t seem to realise that staying home isn’t just about protecting themselves, but also everyone else. Because going out exponentially increases the chances of the virus being passed around.

And yet on 20 March, in an (obviously stupid) act of defiance, people decided to oppose pub closures by having one last night of revelry. What’s worse, some pubs thought it was a good idea to defy the ban and still stay open:

Not just pubs

And it isn’t just pubs that people are keen on visiting. Seaside towns are seeing more visitors due to warmer weather and school closures. Not only is this reckless in terms of containing the spread of the virus, but it’s also a huge strain on small communities with already limited supplies and public services.

Other reports of people in cities not adhering to social distancing are equally concerning:

People have been queuing outside supermarkets:

And some shops don’t seem to be taking the necessary precautions either:

A competing pandemic

All in all, there seems to be a strange reluctance among the British public to accept responsibility for their role in controlling the spread of the pandemic:

It’s almost as though a pandemic of stupidity is competing with the coronavirus in the UK:

‘It’s killing people’

While countries such as Italy and Germany remain in lockdown, there’s an element of social responsibility during this pandemic that continues to evade the British public. As a doctor speaking on LBC said on 20 March:

This isn’t a joke. There will be no pubs because there’ll be nobody going into them. You know, this has got to stop

He went on to say:

When I’m hearing people saying ‘I’m just gonna go to the pub’, ‘it’s Mother’s Day’, ‘I don’t care’… I’m afraid that is killing people

He compared people enlisting to serve the country during WWII to staying home now, saying “all we are asking… is for you to go and sit on your sofa”.

It’s clear that in the UK, things are about to get much worse. Collective social responsibility matters now more than ever. And yes, that includes staying home on Mother’s Day, for the sake of your mum and everyone else’s.

Featured image via Wikimedia/Edward Betts

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