As expected, new COVID-19 restrictions were announced in Northern Ireland yesterday in an effort to combat the rising infection rates. On Wednesday, over 1200 people tested positive, a record high. This time last month we were averaging around 120 a month. Tragically, four people also died taking the death total in our little country to 602. There are over 160 people currently in hospital and we are running out of ICU beds to treat the very ill.
So, from this Friday, all schools will close for an extended half term break. Bars and restaurants will only be allowed to provide a takeaway service and all sports, bar at elite level, are to stop. Supermarkets and off licenses are not allowed to serve alcohol after 20:00 hours. We are to work from home where possible and only undertake essential journeys. Our government will review the continued necessity of these restrictions in four weeks time.
I’ve went from frustration to anger to reluctant acceptance of these measures. In recent weeks I’ve watched a lot of people breaking the guidelines, while other ‘keyboard warriors’ spout nonsense about government control, conspiracy theories and hoax pandemics. All because they can’t sit in their mates house and drink themselves unconscious every weekend. They are the Covidiots and some of their grammar and punctuation leaves a lot to be desired.
This week, though, I’ve seen how easily the virus is spread as a number of people I know have tested positive. Decent law abiding folk who have followed all the guidelines and done their very best to protect themselves and others. Which was shocking but also brought home to me how important it is to do everything we can as individuals and as a society to beat this virus. Stay safe wherever you are and please follow your guidelines. Compliance will save lives.