Despite the PM’s insistence about not wanting to close the doors on England for a second time, that is what he has had to do, bringing misery to millions as the Christmas period rapidly approaches. The disaster that many predicted is here and is likely to stay with us over the Christmas period and take us into the New Year.
The Prime Minister stood behind his lectern and once again told us that we need to stay at home. This draconian action is necessary to ensure that the Health Service is not put in a position where it will have to turn patients away. However, unlike the first lockdown, in spring, the current one is allowing schools, colleges and universities to stay open.
It is not what we wanted but now multiple European countries have to face the reality of a second lockdown. Some people were saying that the second wave was not a threat and that the rise in cases was only due to more tests being undertaken and that the increase did not really matter as it was concentrated around the young. However, the prime minister told us on Saturday that without the second lockdown the nation would face a medical disaster, the NHS would be overwhelmed and for the first time since its creation, the NHS would not be there for us all.
This second lockdown will certainly help to drive the number of infections down but it is too early yet to tell how effective it is being and whether the lockdown will be able to be lifted in time for the festive season. Without a doubt Christmas, Bonfire Night, Diwali and other festivities will not be “normal” this year but what families and businesses will and will not be allowed to do still remains shrouded in uncertainty. Whether restrictions are lifted will depend on people following social distancing rules and whether the “R” rate can be driven down. Current projections show that it is highly unlikely that restrictions will be lifted before Christmas or even in time for the New Year.
With all this uncertainty, shoppers are planning to buy gifts by the end of November signalling an end to the last minute rush with sales of decorations and cards having rocketed compared with this time last year. Indications are also beginning to appear that the country is preparing for a digital Christmas with polls showing that around 40% of people are planning to decorate more parts of their homes to provide a festive backdrop for video calls.