COVID-19 in Shropshire: A Student Perspective (Part 2)

We feel that coronavirus news in the media is gradually starting to evolve from being dramatised to more balanced as the UK has reached the plateau and, more excitingly, a constant and steady drop in numbers of newly identified coronavirus cases since May.

Despite the fall in cases though, the government remains vigilant, putting “caution and safety first,” as the vast majority of the new cases were identified and traced via the current test and trace system. Thousands of contact tracers were recruited to interview people who have tested positive, meaning the government has information of their close contacts.

Another positive piece of news is that on the 7th June, it was announced the UK had exceeded its target to increase coronavirus testing capacity to 200,000 a day by the end of May; considering the current trend, it’s very commendable that the country has more capacity than it needs. As the trend is expected to drop continuously, the early success should be given credit to the coordinated hard work of all frontline workers, healthcare professionals, and cooperation of all citizens in the country.

Socially speaking, as cases have decreased, lockdown restrictions are starting being eased. The 2-metre distance rule has been decreased, to at least 1 metre between people. However, this 1m rule includes the use of some personal protective equipment, such as a face mask. This has normalised the use of face masks across the country and face masks are even mandatory in some places, such as whilst travelling on the train and other public transport.

Recently, I have met up with some of my friends in the Quarry (a spacious park in the centre of Shrewsbury). The park was quite busy as many people were spread out, enjoying the sunny weather we have been having. It felt like life was beginning to return to a sense of normality.

Furthermore, shopping is becoming a more normal experience here once again. I am able to shop in Shrewsbury and get everything I need from fully-stocked shelves and I feel the shops are a safe place as there are one-way systems in all shops to minimise contact between people. Even though shops are a reminder of normality, customers clearly remain aware of covid-19, shopping in a more diligent rather than leisurely way, only picking up and touching things they are paining on buying.

The country is opening up again too. From the July 4th there will be hairdressers, hotels, restaurants and several other services being allowed to open. However, some places for now are remaining shut, like spas and swimming pools. Although this is not best for the economy, it will allow the country to open up in a more staggered and safe way. These services will also be a little different from pre-coronavirus, as there will be social distancing and the use of PPE.

Many of my friends from other schools in Shropshire have returned to school and are currently having lessons on their school’s campus. They mentioned that the main differences are that there are seating plans in lessons and lunchtime rotas that ensure students can remain socially distanced from each other.

Rose, Cindy and Holly – 6.1