This year must be the most strange Christmas time for many people, and for some, the most challenging and difficult one.
It is precisely nine months today since the whole of UK was put under its first Lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus.
The Lockdown apparently began on 16 March 2020 when the UK's Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced in the House of Commons that all unnecessary social contact should cease. However, from 23 March 2020, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the whole UK that people 'MUST' stay at home and certain businesses must close, the unprecedented impact began.
I remember the day very well because we were on our weekend break for Tony's birthday in Drymen, Loch Lomond, Scotland. We were supposed to stay at the Buchanan Arms Hotel from Friday to Monday at that time. But on Friday, 20 March, the Scottish Government told the hospitality sector in Scotland, such as the cafes, pubs, and restaurants, to close.
That evening, our hotel's management team informed all their guests that the premises would close the next day-Saturday because they cannot offer them food as their restaurant was not allowed to open; they then asked all the guests to check-out on Saturday morning.
From then on, the hotel's atmosphere was gloomy, and the reaction of guests and staff was generally that of disbelief. The realisation that this dreadful virus was real and that it can affect every person no matter where in the world they were. This reality would not sink in to many of us at the time!
The days, weeks, and months that followed since then gave each one of us unimaginable challenges. However, many of us, still standing and breathing now, should be grateful. Tens of thousands died in the UK due to this disease, and it is unbearable to think of those who were not able to see their loved ones in the last hours of their lives because of restrictions in place.
But after nine difficult months, a vaccine had become available! And the light at the end of the tunnel had arrived, which could eradicate this virus soon. And so it seemed!
With Christmas looming, the government told us that we could have some days of get-together times with our families and close friends for Christmas celebrations.
The Scottish Government took that relaxation on the restrictions back last Saturday and allowed a family gathering only on Christmas Day. And from 26 December, Boxing Day, mainland Scotland will be on Level 4 Restrictions again!
Another variation of the COVID 19 virus was discovered in England most recently; this virus could spread a lot quicker than the one we're already dealing with, according to experts. This situation prompted the Scottish Government to change its restriction policies; and it is now illegal to travel to and from the other three nations of the UK – England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
It seems that this virus found another way to disrupt humankind's life. And it is frustrating indeed!
We all have plans for this season which won't happen because of the restrictions. My husband and I usually go away for the New Year, so we booked for a few days' stay in Edinburgh City, but we had to cancel that yesterday.
Let us not forget the effect this virus brings and the devastation it has already caused to so many lives worldwide. Last week, one of my friends’ colleagues, a nurse, was moved to another hospital in Glasgow to cover for staff shortage in dealing with COVID patients, had caught the virus there and tragically died. She left a shattered husband and two heartbroken young teenage boys.
For me, Christmas may not be as merry as it used to be, but I am very grateful that I am still here with my family and friends. However small it may seem, I will do my part to prevent the spread of this terrible disease. And together, we will get through this.
With all this said, I still want to wish you a safe and meaningful Christmas and a most promising and healthy New Year 2021!
Till here for now, until next Wednesday. Keep well, and stay safe!
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