Could life ever be sane again
If this disease can get to the Royal family and the Parliament, what is left for all the rest, people in London ask themselvesRadoslava Radkova
Londoners are known for flooding the parks on a typical Sunday afternoon when the sun is happening to be shining occasionally. Thousands of people are having picknicks, playing games or just enjoying the day with their friends and families. Greenwich park is full of tourists and locals per usual and everyone pretends things are fine.
When walking among all those happy people you could almost forget that in the previous weeks people were storming the supermarkets and filling their carts with all the essentials they could think of to the point where all the shelves were lacking toilet paper, canned goods and everything that is long-lasting.
British supermarkets are famous for their fast home deliveries so you could expect when ordering groceries that you’ll get them as soon as the next day. However, the news that the coronavirus had reached Britain and the fear of the unknown made millions of people stockpile at once which made the waiting time for delivery more than two weeks.
And the fun part? You order £50-£60 worth of groceries and by the time your delivery comes, you only get £10 worth of them, as all the other stuff had finished. And if you happen to be willing to go to the shop, you wouldn’t find anything. But restaurants are still working, shopping centres are full, the tube is crowded in rush hours as if nothing is happening. Some people were starting to work from home although not mandatory.
Remember the Sunday afternoon I was talking about? It is the 22 March and at 6pm, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces that from Monday London is on lockdown. People were expecting this from quite a while as the news about Italy were scary, and even scarier was the fact that Britain was following similar trend in the spread of COVID-19. From the 23 March all schools, universities, restaurants and shops that are not selling food and essential items are closed.
Places of worship are closed. Weddings are cancelled. People are advised to work from home unless they are key workers who need to attend to their jobs. Now shops are allowing a limited number of people at a time so the queues for the local supermarkets happen to be few blocks down the street. The lockdown is still not as strict as in other countries. People are allowed one exercise per day, so the next thing you know is that the local park is still full. There are no fines, no police every couple of feet.
Two days after the lockdown has started, Prince Charles tests positive for COVID-19 which spreads fear for the entire royal family and Her Majesty herself. Boris Johnson has previously warned that thousands of people will get infected and many would die, but nonetheless it is different for Brits when it hits the Royals. More so, when the Prime Minister who was defiant against locking down his country, contracts the coronavirus himself.
Boris Johnson has tested positive on the 27 March and on the 6 April was admitted to intensive care as his symptoms got drastically worse. So now people are fearing, if this disease can get to the Royal family and the Parliament, what is left for all the rest? People are advised to self-isolate and not contact the emergency services or even their GP if their symptoms are mild, otherwise the NHS would collapse. The beloved ExCel centre, which is known for fun events, all kinds of conferences, conventions and exhibitions is now turned into Nightingale field hospital and there is an “army” of over 750 000 volunteers to help the NHS.
Now people are worried not only for their health, but their livelihood as well. If they cannot go to work, how can they pay their rent? Before falling ill, himself, PM Boris Johnson again came forward with an emergency legislation to protect renters from eviction and a set of other financial measures are introduced to help businesses to pay for supplies, rent and salaries. Furthermore, moral support comes from her Majesty the Queen in a speech on the 5 April when she broadcasted to the nation words of inspiration and encouragement.
She concluded that "We will succeed, and that success will belong to each and every one of us" and these words came as a wind of hope that everything will be alright eventually and the next time we go on a Sunday sunny day for a walk in the park, we won’t have to worry about a single thing.
Radoslava Radkova is 23 years old and was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. She got a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Greenwich in London, UK as well as Master’s degree in International Business from Cass Business School in London, UK. Her story about the current situation in London, UK is written specially for EUROPOST