Closures, cancellations, delays, empty shelves dog Britain’s attempt to stop Covid-19
In spite of Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s prediction that Coronavirus will end within 12 weeks, life has been characterised by cancellations, delays, empty shelves and long queues in most high street stores for Britons.
In an attempt to end the dreaded scourge, the British government had approved billions of pounds in financial incentives for safeguarding workers wages and the economy in a programme Johnson unveiled with Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak.
Johnson had during his daily briefing on 10 Downing Street, said, “This crisis is so difficult because the enemy is invisible,” but expressed hope that, “We can turn the tide within 12 weeks and l’m absolutely confident we can send coronavirus packing, but only if we all take the steps we have outlined, prominent among which is social distancing.”
These steps included indefinite closure of schools that would force millions of pupils to stay at home till around the resumption of the football season in the last week of April. Johnson had also ordered closure of public places, theatres and cinemas at the weekend, saying it was part of the scientific advice to stop the ‘invisible enemy’ on its tracks.
Prior to the PM’s announcement, some businesses and organisations had already been following government’s earlier advice on curtailing the spread of Covid-19 by closing shops and limiting their operations.
Prominent among them is Transport for London (TFL), which had reduced its services on the bakerloo line, the Waterloo and City line tube before the weekend.
Earlier, the Nigerian High Commission followed suit through a public statement, saying from Wednesday, March 18, 2020 it was suspending “processing of passports until further notice.”
A statement issued by Head of the Chancery, Rose Yakowa-Okoh, added, “The proactive measure is to protect and limit exposure of both applicants and staff members of the mission to the Covid-19 outbreak. The measure is in line with United Kingdom (UK) government’s advice on curtailing the spread of the virus.”
A Nollywood film that was due for premiere at the Odeon Cinema in Greenwich, South East London, was initially moved to a different venue in Camberwell, but despite being sold out, the organisers were forced to announce its postponement on Thursday.
In the statement, “SIMS Official Notice Postponement,” they said: “24 hours to the scheduled date of Stepping Into Maggie Shoe (SIMS) Premiere in London and Manchester, the tickets are already sold out.
“However, the safety and welfare of our fans and viewers are the utmost priority to us. Given the increasing effect of Covid-19, latest government guidelines and the potential impact these could have on our audience and fans, SIMS Movie Premiere scheduled for London and Manchester this weekend will now be postponed until further notice.”
Meanwhile, shopping is daily becoming a daily nightmare due to empty shelves. At a local branch of Tesco in Hackney, a member of staff went around telling queuing shoppers, “just to let you know that only three of each item is allowed.”
The effect of Coronavirus was also visible when The Guardian walked past a venue in Ladbroke Grove on Friday. Outside the place was a notice, “Due to Covid-19, Museum of Brands is Closed Till Further Notice.”
Also at Wembley Central Station, several scheduled underground tube services were either delayed or cancelled and TFL hinted that there would be reduction of services from Monday and was therefore, advising commuters against making non-essential journeys.