The Lockdown: Day 0

Back to the office

What started like any other Monday certainly didn’t end like one.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, was on edge. We’d all spent time stewing over the weekend and nobody wanted to be in the office. Those of us who had been allowed to work from home only 2 days prior, were now back in the office, and back in harms way. Nobody could understand why.

First, we were pulled into one meeting and told that we just had to bare with the company, that things were in motion but we couldn’t all work from home just yet, and just be patient and try not to explode too much.

Back to work.

Then I went for a chat with the general manager. We talked for a short while, and shared our thoughts. I think I can safely say I have never seen that man look so run down.

Back to work.

Then, another meeting. This time for my department and another non phone department. We still can’t all work from home yet. Testing needs to be done, so for some reason even though a lot of us worked from home on Saturday, we can’t now.

Back to work

Nothing really eventful happened for the rest of the work day. Nobody really spoke about the meetings, but you could cut the tension with a butter knife, we were all moments away from exploding

The Announcement

BBC 1, 8.30pm

The scruffy haired wally of a prime minister Boris Johnson appears on the screen, and we listen with out hearts in our mouths.

Good Evening,

The coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades – and this country is not alone.

All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer.

And so tonight I want to update you on the latest steps we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help.

And I want to begin by reminding you why the UK has been taking the approach that we have.

Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.

And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.

To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from Coronavirus but from other illnesses as well.

So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease.

Because that is the way we reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time, so we can protect the NHS’s ability to cope – and save more lives.

And that’s why we have been asking people to stay at home during this pandemic.

And though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more.

From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.

Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.

That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

– Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
– One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
– Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
– Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.

You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No.

You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.

You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine – and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.

If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

To ensure compliance with the Government’s instruction to stay at home, we will immediately:

– Close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship;
– We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with;
– And we’ll stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.
Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.

No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this.

I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.

And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.

And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.

But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.

And yet it is also true that there is a clear way through.

Day by day we are strengthening our amazing NHS with 7500 former clinicians now coming back to the service.

With the time you buy – by simply staying at home – we are increasing our stocks of equipment.

We are accelerating our search for treatments.

We are pioneering work on a vaccine.

And we are buying millions of testing kits that will enable us to turn the tide on this invisible killer.

I want to thank everyone who is working flat out to beat the virus.

Everyone from the supermarket staff to the transport workers to the carers to the nurses and doctors on the frontline.

But in this fight we can be in no doubt that each and every one of us is directly enlisted.

Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together.

To halt the spread of this disease.

To protect our NHS and to save many many thousands of lives.

And I know that as they have in the past so many times.

The people of this country will rise to that challenge.

And we will come through it stronger than ever.

We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together.

And therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.

Thank you.

Boris Johnson – Lockdown Announcement – Monday 23rd March 2020, 8.30pm

Well I must say, our group chat for work went wild. Are we working tomorrow? Where? In the office? From home? We wanted answers and we wanted them now.

None of us knew what to do. Do we go to work? Do we stay home? We can all work from home, but we’re not allowed. So where does that leave us?

A simple message arrived from our manager. Assume we’re in the office tomorrow unless we’re told otherwise.

And that was it.

Panic set in my mind. Do I go to work? Is the car still having it’s MOT? I needed answers, but there was nowhere to get them from.

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