The UK appeared to be split in two over the weekend – between those observing social distancing advice and those flouting it.Parks, beaches and other beauty spots were busydespite warnings about the risk that could pose of spreading coronavirus. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday nightthat unless everyone began following the rules, “tougher measures” like those seen elsewhere in the world could be introduced. The government is urging people not to travel unless it’s essential, including to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar.
Worldwide, Italy remains the worst-hit country, with more than 650 deaths on Sunday alone – but that was the lowest rise in percentage terms since the outbreak began. Its president said he hoped the rest of the world could learn from Italy’s troubles.
No school for the “foreseeable” future. Exams off. Clubs closed. Millions of children will be looking forward to a spring, and possibly a summer, free of responsibility and routine. But these are not normal times – they’re likely to have to spend days and nights indoors with parents or guardians. They won’t get much personal contact with friends and, for teenagers, the cancellation of exams will make a difficult time of year even more worrying. “It’s the perfect storm for parents and children,” says Sam Cartwright-Hatton, professor of clinical child psychology at the University of Sussex.
Several of the newspapers have pictures of crowdstaking advantage of the spring sunshine to get outdoors – in spite of the guidelines on social distancing. “Madness” is the Daily Mirror’s headline. “Stay home or face lockdown”, warns the Sun, while for the Daily Mail, the headline states starkly, “Obey the virus rules – or else”. The Daily Telegraph says there’s been deep concern within Whitehall as it emerged over the weekend that public messages urging people to stay at home and avoid socialising were apparently being ignored. According to the Times, Boris Johnson is facing calls from his cabinet and senior advisers to impose a full lockdown in London. A senior government source tells the paper: “It is inevitable – you just have to look at other countries.” Elsewhere, on the issue of the Olympics, the Financial Times reports that talks in recent days have focused on the length of a delay, possibly even to 2022.
As we said, those deemed most vulnerable are being encouraged to adopt a policy of total isolation, but what is it really like to do that?Listen to the latest episode of BBC Ouch’s podcastin which some of those in that position – those with health conditions or disabilities – share the emotional and practical challenges.