Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #1

It’s a worrying time for us all and no different in Northern Ireland regarding the coronavirus. At present, government are adhering to the mantra of improved personal hygiene. Our Prime Minister has told us to regularly wash our hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds; the time it would take to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice or ‘God Save the Queen.’ I’ll be singing them internally as otherwise I’d feel quite barking mad.

If anyone displays signs of coronavirus, that being a dry, continuous cough and/or high temperature they are to self isolate for 7 days. Many are saying that isn’t enough and are demanding the schools be closed as in the Republic of Ireland. The British government and Northern Ireland Assembly haven’t made that decision yet, even though our First Minister and Deputy First Minister are openly disagreeing on the issue. Our politicians can’t agree on anything, even in times of national crisis.

As I write this there have been 45 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Northern Ireland and almost 1400 in the United Kingdom as a whole. 35 people have died, aged between 59-94, all with underlying health conditions. The figures don’t tell the whole story, however, as tests are now only being carried out on those requiring hospital admission. It’s estimated there could be 30-40,000 cases nationwide.

We are said to be a few weeks behind where Italy is. The government are mulling over a number of options, including increased social distancing, the self isolating of the elderly and entire households to self isolate if one person shows symptoms consistent with coronavirus. As for work, well it’s business as usual at present. I shall be expected at my desk tomorrow morning despite the growing anxiety sweeping across the country.

Supermarkets are selling out of commodities such as toilet roll and sanitising hand gel as queues form. People are also bulk buying pasta, rice and other non perishable foodstuffs. Our village shop still has 99% of what we need but panic buying is happening. Some stores are to start opening early solely to cater for the needs of the elderly. If you were to rely only on social media for your information, you’d be convinced the fabric of society was unravelling and Armageddon was nigh.

The British Government have been widely criticised over poor communication and failing to act swiftly like other countries have. The current guidance is that mass gatherings can still take place and its ‘business as usual.’ Many sporting and entertainment bodies have ignored this advice and professional sports have effectively ground to a halt across the nation. People are scared, confused and desperately in need of clear and decisive leadership.

In the neighbouring Republic of Ireland more severe restrictions are already in place. Schools have closed as have pubs, bars and other venues. The island of Ireland covers two separate jurisdictions whose medical experts and politicians currently hold opposing views as to how we combat the virus. It’s no wonder people are confused. Clarity and direction are lacking at a time when they are most critically required.

I’ve decided to blog daily about coronavirus in Northern Ireland, how it is affecting our lives and society at large. I hope, by doing so, I can offer comfort and community via the blog. Feel free to comment and add your own experiences, wherever you are in the world. We are all in this together and nobody need feel alone on WordPress. Until next time, keep safe and do what is best for you and your loved ones.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

95 thoughts on “Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #1

  1. Long time no comment. Thanks for sharing this. These are ideal times for human studies I think. 🙂 we have shut down schools and childcare here too. And I have a hard time getting rice and stuff too. Though it amazes me why people need so much toilet roll. If I were in existential crisis I wouldn’t think of paper.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. It is a rapidly-developing and ever-changing situation in the states. Response and restrictions vary across the country. Work is to be business as usual today. Not sure what tomorrow will bring.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Maybe you saw the idiots in Buffalo on the news. Our two St. Patty’s days parades were cancelled but they had a pub crawl on Saturday in the Old First Ward (with busses taking people there from other parts of the city!!) & then an unofficial parade up Allen Street on Sunday. Drunks were telling reporters that they didn’t care about “the corona”, life was “a party” & “they didn’t drink that sh*t anyway”. Our public officials have apologized for the actions of these drunks.

    Me, I’m in the middle of moving & I would have stayed home anyway. I have two more days of packing & then I get the keys to my new apartment & I can start moving in. I really hope this coronavirus thing doesn’t mess up things anymore than it already has. I have a moving crew coming a week from today & new rugs & a new couch coming at the end of next week. But …. one day at a time, right?

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Our area has closed schools for two weeks. Our church (LDS) stopped all meetings and activities, including not allowing the public to come to its usual General Conference come April (capacity 22K, and always full for that event). Nationally, the NBA stopped games; two of Utah’s players were the first NBA members to get COVID-19.I

    I’ve been surrounded by many scoffing friends and neighbors, then watched as our stores ran out of toilet paper, cleaners, sanitizer, bottled water, cold and headache medicines, then food storage stuffs like flour and canned vegetables.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. We keep having idiots gather in groups as well. People are still clustering at the Costcos; I think they all think Costco has the most food, so it’s the best bet.

        We had a recent debacle where all the LDS missionaries from the Philippines came home and their families blatantly ignored directions to socially distance from each other at pickup. :/

        Most people are following rules, but the few that aren’t are increasing our number of cases. Our schools just said they will stay closed till May 1.


  5. We in the United States are going through the same thing – it is truly a small world. The hoarding of toilet paper and food is as much a pandemic as the virus. It is a time not to panic but to pray. Pray for healing, pray for peace, pray for us to think about how our actions (Catch it, Bin it, Kill il) will help one another. Help each other where we can and in God’s time,with some creative and expert work on the part of scientists and researchers the world over, we will get through this. Blessings for health & wellness.

    Liked by 8 people

      1. How are things now, a week after you wrote this? Today our first case was announced in my town. Btw, I’ve lost fitness, too, because I have a foot problem. We’ll get it back!


  6. Sounds like you guys are handling the panic better than us haha America is losing it. I’m from Ohio and our govener just closed all schools, banned all social gatherings of 100, all bars and dine-in restraunts. It’s getting out of hand 😬

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Switzerland, perhaps surprisingly, currently has more cases than the UK, with around 2,200 ‘reported’. As you suggest, not every case will be reported, so it’s hard to compare like with like, but per capita, with a population of ‘only’ 8 million, that’s a lot larger percentage too. That said, I don’t feel threatened myself (possibly due to the very few cases in our region) but it’s clear from a local facebook group that the people in our valley are worried about their elderly relatives. The ski stations are now all closed and they are about to close all hotels and B&Bs etc from tonight. We have a lot of visitors from Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK, but they will almost certainly be returning home now, unless they own a second home. So we will see what happens to the numbers.
    Apart from one or two items, our shops are pretty much well stocked and there is no real panic buying. Overall, I feel pretty well protected where we are, but it’s down to everyone to think about others, and particularly the elderly, during this crisis.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes, it could simply be that the Swiss are better at recording the cases. (Or the Swiss are contacting the hospitals rather than ‘just’ staying at home or calling 111 as in the UK). The healthcare system is extremely good over here (well, we pay a lot of money for it) and there are quite a number of specialist clinics, which I think are being prepared for any massive increase in the current numbers. But it is quite surprising how high the numbers are, relatively.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry, I’ve only just seen this reply and question (because someone liked my comment above). There wasn’t any more testing, but the virus soon came under control and the number of deaths is still under 2,000 – having reached 1,500 what seems like months ago. Testing is now freely available, which has led to more cases being reported, but the number of deaths is very small, like about 20 in the last month. We still feel quite safe, though slightly worried about the number of Belgian, Dutch, British and German visitors coming in. Hope you are all feeling safe in NI.


  8. Here in New Jersey it’s pretty much the same as others have said. Most school closed down for at least 2 weeks and learning happening via online instruction, a lot of day cares closed, and toilet paper and hand sanitizer continue to be hot commodities. I have never in my life seen stores as empty as I have recently. I also have never seen people be so panicked and mean. Shoving others to get to things before they run out, people walking around in hazmat suits, it’s just insane. Praying this will all calm down soon. For me I am no longer panicked (but I was very panicked last week). I feel God has this under control and I am trusting Him to care for all of us. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Here in my neck of the woods, in good old Texas.

    Schools and churches have closed their doors. They will now be via the internet or television.

    Large gathers have halted. I fear a bit too late since the two cases in my area, are believed to have come from the Houston Rodeo.

    Health officials are calling for a 14-day to a 3-month national lockdown to contain the viruses. One health official compared this virus to when Polio hit.

    Fear is amongst many, while the younger generation doesn’t believe it will affect them. I think this is a wake-up call for many. We have all come to think we are safe. In reality, we may not be as safe as we think.

    I believe we’ll survive, but it shall long be remembered—a time to dust off your religious beliefs and start praying.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I’m so glad to hear from you! ❤️

    I’m in GA, USA, and we are on a mandatory shut down of all public and private schools. Our churches have decided not to meet, gatherings of 50 or more people have been asked not to meet, and most restaurants have closed their dining rooms and will only do take out/curb side or drive thru. Daycares, libraries, museums, parks, etc. have all shut down either for the mandatory two weeks, or for the rest of the month, and some into April (mostly museums and state run places). Stores are restocking as fast as possible, but are now limiting quantities to prevent hoarding, and making sure that everyone has the chance to get what they need.

    Our state, even though we have a CDC, has almost no tests, so it’s impossible to know just how big our outbreak exposure truly is. We’re supposed to be getting more tests, and then we’ll have a better grasp. The metro Atlanta counties were the first hit, and they’ll continue to be ground zero because of the huge traffic through Atlanta (the world’s busiest airport).

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Thank you; comfort is in short supply.
    In my part of the world (Manitoba, Canada) schools and likely day-cares are shutting down effective tomorrow until April 13th, hand and cough hygiene are being stressed (why don’t we do that anyway??) and gatherings over 50 are not recommended. Some local communities have shut down whole municipal service departments (including the handi-van transport)/ The self-quarantine period is 14 days. We, too, have panic-buying. It makes me very sad. Especially because our local communities are between 150 and 1200 people. Not dense population centres…. I am particularly sad about it because according the WHO ( while the illness spreads incredibly fast it isn’t that “dangerous” except to those who have compromised immune and respiratory issues or other significant underlying health concerns. The world has been gearing up for this kind of reaction rooted in our anxiety (of feeling powerless most of the time?) So maybe this will burst the bubble and we can recalibrate ourselves to being a community of people who care about the person next to us. (for further comments you can check out my blog )

    Liked by 5 people

  12. From Nova Scotia: On Saturday my local church kept their Roast Beef dinner night on, though turnout was lower than usual, which was to be expected. More take-out orders too. Handshakes replaced by elbow bumps – not sure how effective that is but it’s a somewhat humourous way to handle things. Spirits were reasonably high, though the topic is certainly on the table most places you go.

    The toilet paper hoarding started last week. Tim Hortons (Canadian coffee and donut chain) began implementing regular hand-washing, and scrub-downs of tables after use. These were things they probably should have been doing beforehand. I drove through a Second Cup this morning that wasn’t taking cash. I don’t want to know what travels around on money….

    As deaconheathers says, maybe this will result in a recalibration in different ways. We should be promoting basic health practices anyhow. Also, we are over-populated, and we move people and things around far more than we need to. A wake-up call now and then is bound to happen, when a population is living near some of its limits.

    I appreciate how this is also causing people to share in other ways. I hope to witness more examples of us collectively growing up in the years ahead.

    Stay frosty,
    *elbow bump*

    Liked by 4 people

  13. The panic set in here in South Africa on Sunday night, when our president declared a state of disaster. Schools are closed and gatherings limited to 100 at most. The panic buying has begun too.

    Scary times, but many positives too. Events like this can bring out the best in humanity (not just the worst)…may we all strive to be on the right side of the divide.

    Keep safe.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. In Italy, no crowd gatherings at all. Schools have been closed since February. All small shops are closed and many companies have laid off their employees.Face masks and gloves are a must when you go food shopping. Only 2 clients can go in at a time. We can get fined if the police officers stop us and we haven’t a good reason for being outside, such as, food shopping, pharmaceuticals, and doctors appointment. We can’t leave our province either. Stay at least 4 meters from one another, obviously wash your hands often. Then stay home as much as possible. Do not underestimate the covid-19 it’s not a common flu. Although I’ve heard many people say this a few weeks ago and they went skiing all the same or for trips at the shore, and now look what happened in Lombardia.That little critter is spreading. Try to go out as little as possible, spend time with your family, play cards, reorder your closet, knit, paint. Work from home if you can. This is the right time to do the things you never had time to do. Oh! use alcohol or chlorine to disinfect your home, mouse and keyboard and every surface you can think of. Mostly don’t panic, think positive and play it safe by staying at home!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. What I am not hearing from anyone, and correct me if I have missed anything, are reports of actual people you know who have fallen ill and have died from this virus. If this is a true pandemic, shouldn’t some of you know of someone who is infected or that has died from this? All I am hearing are statistics and the words of politicians. All I am hearing is about regulations now put in place to alter the lives of the people of the world and to send them into panic. I know some famous people have reportedly contracted the virus. But, who in your city has it or had it and has died from it? Who that you personally know. That is where the real numbers are. Who in your neighborhood, or church, or family has been directly impacted by the virus? To me, it sounds like the greater impact of this virus is in how it is upheaving all of our lives and is destroying our economies. Is it possible, do you think, that there could be a hidden agenda at work here? Just thinking out loud.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Scary times. You did a great job covering it. But there are opportunities here.

    I wrote about them recently. Got to make the most out of what we are dealt. Everything has trade offs, some more immediate.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Here in the states, a lot of stores are running out of supplies and a lot of people seem much more grumpier than normal. I think that is because more and more people are choosing to stay home.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. I hope you and your family stay safe! The government’s response has to be frustrating, though. The US here seems to be in a similarish situation–the federal government is dragging its heels, so the states that want to are picking up the slack.

    Liked by 5 people

  19. Greetings from Greece X Here schools and pubs shut down March 10th, and every day something; we are now restricted to go out unless it’s supermarket/pharmacy/doctor/exercise/walking the dog/work (but almost everything is closed now – Italy said it loud and clear; when you lock down will determine your path. We are adapting here, as no one wants to see the worst happen, The body can be restricted for a little while but the mind, never! We are making the best we can with our time, and when this is over, we will deal with the consequences, and move on, as we always do I pray for all countries to get through this, and Ireland; a special place in my heart, as my partner lives there. Stay safe X stay home XX

    Liked by 4 people

  20. I hope you guys are fine . I am from India and it’s in initial stage
    I wrote some facts about corona I hope this will help you

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Hi there. I am going around the neighborhood introducing myself. My name is Marc. My blog contains excerpts from my book The Driveway Rules. It contains memoirs about growing up with undiagnosed autism. I hope you stop by.

    Liked by 3 people

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