A couple of days ago the government asked people to observe ‘social distancing’, another term that just a week ago wasn’t part of our everyday parlance. Now it’s a phrase that everybody knows, but some either don’t understand it, or blatantly ignore it.

The rule is, we shouldn’t go within two meters of other people outside of our own household. If you can work from home, you should. If you can avoid going to the shop, you should, you shouldn’t go out socially, indeed pubs, restaurants, ice rinks, bingo halls, cinemas and theatres have all been closed. Today is Mother’s Day and we’ve all been told not to visit our mothers, it’s just too risky.

Even though the prime minister has been forcing this message daily, lots aren’t getting it. The popular seaside areas which are normally very quiet in March have been packed this weekend, there are huge queues at supermarkets where people are panic buying food. There are no toilet rolls on the shelves, even though 95% of UK stock is produced in the UK and there are warehouses full of the stuff, they just can’t get them to the shops fast enough to keep supplies on the shelves. There is no pasta in the country. People are stockpiling the dried staple which will keep in their cupboards and no go off in a few days. There are shortages of all sorts of food.

I took a walk to Iceland, a frozen food supermarket this afternoon. There have been large queues outside supermarkets in the mornings, to the point that they are now only allowing elderly or vulnerable people in the high risk groups, and NHS staff, in to shop for the first two hours of opening. I chose to visit just after 12pm, when the nation will be eating their lunch, probably with their mothers having ignored the PM’s appeal.

There were only a couple of customers in the shop when I got there, so no need to queue. I worked my way around the isles making sure I didn’t cross paths with anybody else, keeping to the two-meter rule. The freezers were almost empty. I managed to pick up some frozen chicken breasts – it’s impossible to get fresh ones at the moment, and there was just one pack left in the freezer – but there was plenty of fresh food available such as fruit, ham, yoghurts, margarine and bread. The milk shelves were empty, but that’s not unusual for a Sunday afternoon.

When I got home I emptied my freezer and made a list of the contents. It could be some time before I can replenish them, but we’ve got a lot more in that I knew, it’s just massively disorganised so I couldn’t see or find a lot of it.

The government are starting to put out visuals to get the message across. They key message being, “Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save lives”.


Outdoor office

Last year I had planned to buy a patio table and chairs set for the garden, but I never got around to it. I’ve been thinking about it again for the past couple of weeks and the plan was to buy something in time for the Easter school holidays.

Tonight though I decided to bring the timescale forward, if we’re going to have to stay at home any longer then it’ll be a good feature to have so we can sit out in the garden. I opted for a wooden picnic table and two benches. They arrived by courier tonight after the girls had gone back with their mum. It was a part-built flat-pack so I spend a couple of hours assembling them and getting them into the garden ready to surprise the girls when they came back in the morning.

Chloe’s seven days of self-isolation are now over so technically she can go back to school, although I decided to keep her at home for the rest of the week. The government have now announced that all schools will be closed after tomorrow until the pandemic is over so I didn’t see much point in sending her in.

New guidelines

Things were really ramped up by the government last night. The advice is now that if anybody in the household has either a high temperature or new and persistent cough, then everybody in the house must self-isolate for 14 days.

It’s thought that if you have the virus you can transmit it to others for upto seven days, so the timescale has doubled because it’s seven days for the person with symptoms while others might take seven days to show symptoms after catching it. So, I get a cough on day one, I pass it to you on day seven but you don’t show symptoms possibly until day 14.

Of course, this now means that Amelia and Hannah also can’t go to school. Amelia wasn’t too bothered by this, although Hannah was quite upset. She wanted to see her friends but also maintain her 100% attendance record to go into a prize draw at the end of the year.

It’s strange keeping the girls off school when they aren’t ill. Other than the cough Chloe isn’t ill and the other two have no symptoms at all.

Chloe has a cough

Chloe has had a little cough since Wednesday, I haven’t thought much of it until today.

The government has issued guidance that anybody with a new and persistent cough should stay at home in ‘self-isolation’ for seven days. It’s one of the signs of Coronavirus and there’s a chance you could have it, and spread it.

There have been a few cases of the virus found in the UK, from people who have travelled abroad and brought it in with them. The first case of it being transmitted to somebody in the UK that hasn’t been abroad was on 28 February, so it’s now spreading around the population.

The government have decided not to test everybody with symptoms, there aren’t enough tests available and it isn’t seen as necessary. If you have the virus you have to stay at home, if you have symptoms you have to stay at home, so there’s no benefit of testing everyone with a cough or a temperature. Also, if you test negative then you could go about your business thinking your cough is just an ordinary, everyday cough, but then catch the virus and spread it thinking you’re ok because you’ve been tested. Other countries are testing everybody with symptoms, the World Health Organisation is encouraging mass testing, but the UK’s approach seems rational, even though not everybody agrees.