“My heart can’t take this”: 9 reactions to the UK lockdown extension

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Kayleigh Dray
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The government has decided to extend the coronavirus lockdown for at least three weeks. Here’s how we reacted to the news.

It’s official: the UK’s coronavirus lockdown – initially scheduled for review on 13 April – will remain in place for at least another three weeks, the government has announced.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from Covid-19, announced the news at Downing Street’s daily coronavirus news briefing yesterday.

“The government has decided that the current measures must remain in place for at least the next three weeks,” he said, adding that experts had warned that relaxing the lockdown would “risk damage to both public health and the economy.”

Raab, hinting that the lockdown may last even longer, added that there are five conditions the government must be sure of before they will consider lifting the current Covid-19 quarantine measures.

These are:

  • Confidence that the NHS can still provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment across the UK
  • The need to see a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate to be confident we are beyond the peak
  • Reliable data from SAGE that the infection rate has decreased to manageable levels
  • Testing capacity and PPE is in hand to meet supply for future demand
  • Not risk a second peak of infection that overwhelms the NHS

“We’ve come too far, lost too many loved ones and sacrificed too much to let up now - especially when we are now beginning to see that our efforts are paying off,” Raab said.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we are at a delicate and dangerous stage of this pandemic.”

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So how did we react to the news that the coronavirus lockdown will last until “at least” the 7 May? 

Well, we can’t speak for everyone, but here’s how some of the Stylist team felt when they learned the news.

“I mostly feel numb”

“When Boris Johnson announced the first lockdown three weeks ago, I was literally perched on the edge of my sofa, hands gripping my face, eyes fixed on the TV. But when my phone flashed with an alert informing me the government had extended the lockdown yesterday, I barely stopped writing the email I was composing. The news just sort of rolled over me. Some of my closest family members and best friends are key workers, so I’m not shocked or angry about the extension – if it’s necessary to keep them safe, I’m for it. Overall, I guess I mostly feel numb.”

Moya Crockett, Contributing Women’s Editor

London lockdown: weekends can feel particularly lonely.
London lockdown: weekends can feel particularly lonely.

“None of us can really say when it will end”

“I’m in the very privileged position of still having my job and living with housemates who I love, but I’m desperately missing my family, my friends, my boyfriend, and just the freedom to leave my house when I please, to see who I please, to go where I please. With the constant news cycle of doom and gloom, it feels like there is literally nothing to look forward to, and the choice of phrasing from yesterday’s conference makes it clear this won’t be over in three weeks - it’s stretching into the future, and none of us can really say when it will end.”

Sarah Biddlecombe, Digital Commissioning Editor

“I actually felt a sense of relief”

“My sister-in-law lives in France and we’ve been following in their footsteps through this Covid-19 nightmare, so I was absolutely expecting another three weeks in lockdown yesterday after Macron extended France’s earlier in the week. But what I didn’t expect was to feel so fine about it. I actually felt a sense of relief that I had something to count down to - in my mind I’m thinking, I can do three weeks - not a problem. It’s a do-able amount of time. If they’d not given a figure yesterday and left it open-ended I’d been feeling pretty anxious and low right now. But as it is I’m counting down three more weeks, taking it one day at a time.”

Felicity Thistlethwaite, Digital Executive Editor

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“I know it’ll most likely get extended again”

“Watching the news yesterday made me feel slightly nauseous. I knew this partial lockdown was going to get extended – and I know it’ll most likely get extended again – but I’m having a hard time stomaching the fact that this will be going on for quite a long time. Of course, there’s no way anybody can give an end date but the not knowing just makes me feel a bit overwhelmed.”

Hanna Ibraheem, Senior Beauty Writer

“They need to be more realistic”

“I’m completely unmoved by the announcement to extend lockdown by three weeks. If anything, I think they should be more realistic and tell us it will be more like three months. I don’t think any of us really believe the world will be back to normal in three weeks time, so I’m concentrating on perfecting my morning routine, working from home schedule, getting in my exercise everyday and trying to create structure and plans within my week to adjust to life right now.”

Megan Murray, Digital Writer

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“We are doing this to save lives”

“I knew the three-week extension was coming, and yet it hit me like a tonne of bricks when it was confirmed yesterday. I’ve been saying to myself and others that I feel OK doing this, because there is strength and comfort in knowing that we are all doing it together to help save lives. But after spending a month living on my own, the words ‘at least three weeks’ have left me numb. Completely numb. One thought that exacerbates this feeling is knowing that it’s not just a case of things going back to normal when lockdown is loosened. 

“Firstly, I don’t believe it will just be three weeks longer. And it’s not like I’m going to be able to jump on a train to my family home and embrace my mum when it is lifted. Even if we’re allowed to, I think I’ll be too anxious to go anywhere for quite a while. What I’m telling myself is this: I am so, so lucky right now. Yes, it’s hard, it’s lonely, it’s terrifying. And the uncertainty of how long this lasts only makes things worse. But the very reason we are doing this is to save lives. No way would I want the government to jeopardise that by ending lockdown too early. This doesn’t change the fact that I hate being in quarantine – but it reminds me that there is the greatest purpose in what I’m doing, for my life and for others.”

Hollie Richardson, Digital Writer

“I’m not sure my heart can take it”

“I was surprised by how frustrated I was when I saw the news about lockdown being extended for ‘at least 3 weeks’. My first thought was ‘well yes, obviously’, my second was ‘how fucking ridiculous to even announce that now anyway!’ I’ve been really concerned about being let out of lockdown too soon and teasing us with a three week extension when DEEP DOWN EVERYBODY KNOWS IT WILL BE LONGER is a huge, unfair false hope. Perhaps I’m just feeling really negative about the whole thing; yes, I would love lockdown to end after three weeks if it’s safe to do so, but we’ll now have people up and down the country counting down to a freedom that they’re not necessarily (read: obviously won’t) get. And what happens to us when those three weeks are up and we’re given another extension? I’m not sure my heart, mental health or liver (yes, I’ve been drinking through it too) can withstand that.

Jazmin Kopotsha, Digital Deputy Editor

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“We should stay in lockdown as long as we need to”

“Yes, it’s boring being sat at home all day, but I feel very lucky to be able to do so. There are countless others who have been putting themselves in danger to keep this country’s wheels turning – healthcare workers, supermarket staff, teachers, waste disposal teams, and so many others – that it feels disrespectful to say I can’t stand staying safe indoors. I’ve got food in my cupboards, the ability to keep doing my job, and so much technology to keep me in touch with my loved ones. Yes, I miss seeing people, eating out, popping to the local shop without a care in the world and going for long rambling hikes, but not enough to break this lockdown early. 

“We need to give our NHS the time they need to get on top of this, and we need to work hard to keep everyone safe. One thing I will say, though, is that the government’s list of criteria for lifting lockdown doesn’t feel attainable in the three weeks they’ve given us. I’d much prefer them to be honest and say this is going to last however many months, so that people aren’t being fed false hope. Surely it’s worse to tell them three weeks and then whack them with another three than just telling the truth?”

Kayleigh Dray, Digital Editor-at-Large

“There’s potentially an end in sight”

“I’ve been back up North by the sea for just over a month now, I’m enjoying the slower pace of life and and dare I say it, I’ve been having…quite a nice time. Obviously it’s a really scary and worrying time for everyone, but I guess I’ve been burying my head in the sand a bit (literally) and trying to live more in the moment, rather than doing what I usually do (ruminate on absolutely everything every single moment of the day). I’m not saying I don’t want life to return to see friends and family, and even the office: far from it. But, now that there is potentially an end in sight, I do feel a certain melancholy for the new routine and life I’ve been living over the past month.”

Lucy Robson, SEO Executive

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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