Today marks the so called ‘Freedom Day‘ in England, the day when most of the social restrictions are to be lifted. This means an end to social distancing, the end to compulsory working from home and the end of mandatory mask wearing. The Prime Minister is advising people to ‘be responsible‘ and that rules must be replaced with “personal responsibility”, to think of the risk to others and now placing the responsibility completely on the shoulders of the English public. But the laws, the rules and the majority of the compulsory mandates have now brought to an end.
But this has left many people within England (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have different legislation)very concerned. People who were previously shielding, people who still have those long term health conditions and many other ‘ordinary’ people are worried that this freedom is now turning into captivity for them.
With Covid numbers rising exponentially and people just milling around with no masks or social distancing, vulnerable people are beginning to think that they are once again needing to hide away in their homes. They are also feeling that their health or their lives are of no importance, especially when the government that has already stated that they expect there to be more deaths from Covid and that now freedom for others now means captivity to them.
Scope, the disability charity said today on their website “Disabled people have been routinely forgotten during the pandemic, and are still some of the hardest hit. New Scope research shows only 2 per cent of disabled people feel safe about the lifting of restrictions today, on what’s being dubbed “Freedom Day”.
Disabilty rights campaigner Sue Groves MBE (@SUEG46) said “It may be #FreedomDay for many, but for chronically sick and disabled people, the risks are still very real and the guidance is to effectively continue shielding without the support“
@InclusionLondon on Twitter has stated – “Disabled, chronically ill, immunocompromised, and many others seeing the government forge ahead with #FreedomDay but “urging caution” with no consideration or support available for millions of people. It’s hard not to take it personally, eh?“
Some more personal thoughts mirror these statements….
Aleesha Khaliq (@a_leesha1) added “It’s not “Freedom Day” when millions of ill & disabled people in Britain are terrified about their survival as we have more Covid cases than any other country. This “survival of the fittest” policy is completely barbaric & is designed to kill more ill & disabled people“
From my point of view, I live in Wales where the Covid rules are different. Along with Scotland, we have still maintained mandatory mask wearing and social distancing and I for one, am very relieved that we have. Even with the inevitability of relaxation of the rules approaching, with the numbers rising as they are, I’m glad that we are not in the same position as England and the choice over freedom or captivity yet again doesn’t have to be made just yet……..
But maybe a last word of hope and reassurance from Dr Punam Krishnan (@DrPunamKrishnan)…….
“The only thing you can control is YOU & your actions, try not get bogged down with what others are doing. Many will be excited about #FreedomDay, many will be anxious – your feelings are valid. Go at your own pace. Keep yourself safe: hands-face-space-ventilate-double vaccinate x”
And a last thought from our national treasure Miranda Hart (@mermhart) who has always been a great ally of people with chronic conditions…..