Laurence Andrews

Coronavirus

The past few weeks have been quite extraordinary. The current Coronavirus pandemic has begun to affect our lives in the way nothing like it ever has before - and I suspect that we’re very much still at the start line.

on Friday (20th March 2020) in a live TV address to the nation the prime minister, Boris Johnson directed that as soon as reasonably possible all pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants should be closed to the public. I had settled in my mind that the point at which the pubs are closed is when things change from being a concern to being something quite serious.

Since we got back from New York in February the news has been an endless stream of information on the Virus. It has been headline after headline of infection and death statistics, event cancellations, speculations and nonsense from the US President, Donald Trump. Brexit which was set to continue to plague news stories for yet another year has seldom been mentioned, with a brief exception for when the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier confirmed he had tested positive.

Right now each day reveals a new record, change or policy: - Monday 16th: The PM advises everyone to avoid non-essential travel and contact with others, encouraging home working where possible. - Tuesday 17th: The Chancellor announced a £330bn support package for businesses. All nationwide cinema chains announce closures. The NHS postpones all non-urgent operations. - Wednesday 18th: The PM announces that all schools are to be closed except for children of key workers. This year’s Glastonbury Festival (it’s 50th anniversary) is to be cancelled. - Thursday 19th: The Bank of England base rate was reduced to 0.10%, the lowest rate in its history. - Friday 20th: The Chancellor announces further measures including the government paying 80% of wages for those who are now out of work as a result of the Virus.

Ultimately, the country still thinks much of this is a novelty - but the UK has only suffered just 289 deaths. Many people over the weekend were ignoring advice to stay at home, some were even relaxing at the beach in Whitstable! Conversely, Italy which has been severely impacted suffered 793 deaths in just a single day on Friday despite the entire country being on a government-enforced lockdown with all access to the outdoors forbidden. Things are set to get worse before they get better.

On a personal note, Victoria and I are at home and have been since we last went to the pub on Tuesday 17th. Work continues for us both, I have been working on the deployment of Microsoft Teams to Colliers’ in EMEA and Victoria is working on managing cases remotely for the CCG.

Thankfully we have plenty of food and drink at home so will hopefully be able to see things through without too much trouble. Let’s hope for the best. Expect more blog posts to come.