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:
Heavy police presence outside Cheers pub in Greenock, which has decided to stay open despite Government ban. pic.twitter.com/mnsNZtlfmS
— Ross McCafferty (@RossMcCaff) March 21, 2020
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:
🛑 STOP THIS NOW 🛑
Columbia Road flower market, East London.
— Dino Sofos (@dinosofos) March 22, 2020
People have been queuing outside supermarkets:
Disappointed absolutely disappointing with @Tesco misleading info saying NHS staff can shop 9am on Sunday turned up today to see miles and miles of queue outside was told I had to wait in queue no matter I had my nhs ID with me #tesco #NHSstaff #telford pic.twitter.com/mD3Z1BXTsF
— Audrey Whyte (@AudreyWhyte_) March 22, 2020
the complete lack of care for your own health and the health of others is astounding, not to mention people still trying to hoard whatever they can, even electrical stores have SOLD OUT of FREEZERS because you don't have room to store everything that will spoil. jfc
— .Adam Kustura (@toallthings) March 22, 2020
And some shops don’t seem to be taking the necessary precautions either:
Working in @Waterstones today following the lockdown. No hand sanitiser provided, no wipes, no disinfectant, no reduced shop hours, cash still being accepted. We're being told by head office that gloves and masks are not permitted, meanwhile administrative staff…(cont.)
— Kajsa (@kk_liber) March 21, 2020
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:
The news: "If we all act sensibly and follow these precautions, then we might only lose maybe 1% of the population."
A terrfying amount of people: "Well clearly that doesn't affect me."
— Natalie'Zorah (@TerraSirena) March 21, 2020
Attended a patient at home. Strong COVID -19 symptoms. Full assessment. Left her at home. Lengthy advice re isolation, the reasons why, the risk, what to expect etc. Did paperwork outside and then she walked past – “I’m nipping out for a coffee and cake” GIVE ME STRENGTH 🤬🤬😠
— Ben (@BendyBen999) March 21, 2020
It’s almost as though a pandemic of stupidity is competing with the coronavirus in the UK:
we're going through a global pandemic you fucking twat https://t.co/jFt8PDUYma
— ً (@itswazzzz) March 22, 2020
‘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
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.