Day 1 : A New Normal

UK citizens have woken up a very different world today.

Like other generation defining moments like 9/11 for example, people will remember the 23rd March 2020, where they were and what they were doing when the country was put into almost lockdown conditions.

A new way of living is here for every single one of us. Adjustments to our routines and the things we’ve been used to doing, which may be in place for some time. The Coronavirus epidemic touches all our lives in some ways, some more difficult or complex than others.

Unprecedented in any of our lifetimes, changes may not just be to our finances and freedom of movement but also to the very heart of our family life. Sacrifices have been made to what was once “normal”. The way we work, how we shop, what we choose to buy, holidays cancelled and perhaps the greatest, distancing ourselves from friends and elderly family members at the very time they would want to be with us more….personal sacrifices being asked of us, all for the greater good.

Blantyre has a such a strong sense of community. That very statement is a significant reason why lots of us settled down here in the first place. We look out for each other. We’re kind to each other. We rally, when it’s needed. We saw several examples of such kindness over the last fortnight, and it is still needed now.

Today is Day of a “new normal”. Adjustments we’ll all need to quickly get used to. It inevitably brings about questions on almost every subject, some perhaps not so apparent right now. Priorities must be to look out for one another, especially the elderly, the vulnerable or infirm, or those that may not quite understand what’s happening. For all of us, these times may be frightening, worrying or stressful and will surely impact our mental health in some ways. Calmness is needed, responsible shopping is needed, compliance of the governments advice is needed.

Asking to stay at home is clearly a big ask for 12 weeks, but keep this in mind as we compare that instruction to the lives of our parents and grandparents. We’re still together in family households, not being asked to send our children away from cities as they did in WW2. Working life for many will continue at home. We’re not being asked to pick up a rifle and travel to foreign shores where we may not come back. Food shops are staying open and being well restocked daily. We won’t have to live through rationing. We can and we WILL all get through this.

Support is available from many official sources and in the coming days and weeks it will become clearer who to apply for financial aid from the government for both individuals and businesses. Our dedicated support group for our own area is noted here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlantyreOfficialCoronavirusSupport

and is being followed by over 1,200 people already. It contains official news linked back to sources for both government and local authorities and is being maintained completely and jointly community led with updated shop hours, what services are available and much more.

As a news source for our area, we feel a responsible, duty of care to be able to communicate quickly and accurately as to whats happening in Blantyre. This will continue through this crisis and we hope to bring you many things to keep you occupied at home, including the kids. Please be aware we are continuing to work in our own job, being involved in a key service elsewhere, so posting on Blantyre Telegraph will likely continue to be early in the morning, lunchbreaks and in evenings, those same times we pick up messages. Please be patient. We will respond to all messages.

Finally, we all have to keep our spirits up. Hopefully, a community united in this cause.

According to government statements, there is hope that we will get through the worst of this epidemic in 3 months and with restrictions reviewed all the time, hopefully some normality can return before the summer. No new deaths in China where this all started, their curve flattened, some public services and shops re-opening. In Italy, where the death rate has been most severe, the daily numbers have fallen over the last couple of days, a trend hopefully to continue. Is staying at home, finally working? Spring has sprung all around us, something going a little unnoticed. Warmer weather is coming. Lighter nights coming from this weekend. Keep the kind acts to one another coming.

We each have an obligation to follow government advice in order to save lives. Stay at Home for these initial 3 weeks. Let’s save as many lives as we can and god bless us all.

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