Here we are week 10 of the UK Covid 19, lock-down! We find ourselves as a nation being restructured even as I type. Looking back we can see that social distancing was and is necessary to contain the spread of the virus. It is also clear the Government was too slow in introducing the necessary measures. We have had more deaths per million population than most other countries. Provided we’re sensible though we can now begin to get back to normal.
Looking around us:-
Sweden instituted a more blended strategy: instead of drastically closing all businesses except essential services, most businesses stayed open with social distancing measures in place. The most vulnerable over 70’s and those with underlying conditions protected. As a result, the majority of the population developed herd immunity, they still have a vibrant economy and seem to have survived not much worse than other countries.
Brazil has taken the view it is all a hoax and carried on as normal but they are now the only country with cases and deaths rising. They are very clearly on the wrong path and will have to change tack soon, the sooner the better.
Singapore never had a lock down but did a drastic trace and test policy from the start isolating anyone with the virus and anyone they had contact with. This definitely worked best for sustaining the economy and reducing cases and deaths and really also for maintaining civil liberties unless you happened to be one who either got the virus or had contact with such.
Lessons are being learnt.
- Government is able to quickly impose quite drastic laws when there is a danger of a pandemic. It seems this one almost certainly came from Wuhan in China. What we don’t know is whether it was some tragic accident or whether it was actually created deliberately for some reason such as to create the need for totalitarianism and one world Government. At the very least we need to be alert to the possibility.
- Certain groups such as BPAS have been opportunistic, using the pandemic as an excuse to introduce DIY abortions which they are lobbying to make a permanent fixture in UK law. Abortion centres were always going to be in a challenging position. Are they an essential service? We would say most certainly not. Faced with just being closed down they fought back and demanded abortion pills be allowed to be taken at home. Government said “no” at first but then caved in unprepared for the onslaught. Sad. But this battle raged all over the world during the virus lockdowns
- The push for a one world Government and probably with it a one world religion is now bound to continue in earnest with interestingly people like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown at the forefront of trying to set it up. It is very dangerous for civil liberties.
What about the place of churches?
At the start of this pandemic most churches seemed to willingly give in to being closed down but was it necessary? The application of the Governments’ interpretation of essential activities lacks a holistic approach. I can go along with supermarkets and banks being essential services. This is taking care of our physical and financial needs, but what about our spiritual needs, especially at a potentially very distressing time such as this? If ever there was a necessity for individuals to stay connected to their faith, I think this would most definitely qualify as one of those occasions. Australia took a different approach and deemed houses of worship as essential activities, so churches were able to stay open applying social distancing. Individual States in the USA have made regional decisions on the matter. Of course, it is of no surprise that the more liberal states have taken a very harsh line on church activity and even arrested Pastors for supposedly violating state orders. Whilst States such as Texas have permitted church activity but with some restrictions.
Now it’s time to move on. We believe the process of moving on should have started much earlier. The CPA issued a press release on the 23rd April outlining a sensible strategy for the UK to reopen for business:
As the Coronavirus pandemic calms down in many areas and evidence comes to light the virus is most likely transmitted through the nose CPA calls for immediate action as follows: –
1. Compulsory wearing of masks in all areas where people come into contact with other members of the public like shops and shopping centres and places of work.
2. All shops allowed to re-open but applying social distancing rules.
3. All churches and other religious buildings allowed to re-open applying social distancing rules and reducing the maximum attendance to one third of the normal building capacity.
4. All offices allowed to re-open with everyone working from home where possible and office attendance to apply social distancing and no more than one third of normal capacity allowed inside office buildings.
5. Normal road travel allowed with care to be taken at petrol stations.
6. Social distancing to be applied on all public transport with capacity no more than one third of normal capacity on all buses and trains and flights.
This was only ever meant to be a first step with the next step being a test and tracing regime to be put in place so we can get back to normal. Even now though in retrospect this would have been a good move then for the economy on 23rd April and is unlikely to have altered the downward trend of cases provided people stay alert.
The government’s recent review of the situation is very puzzling to say the least; The diocese of Shrewsbury in a recent tweet put it in a nutshell – you can have an abortion but not a baptism, buy a car, but not a votive candle, go to the supermarket, but not a sanctuary, get a divorce, but not get married and break the law, but not receive absolution. It is time to re-open churches.
We can however through all this welcome the fact that families have spent more time together. We can welcome the fact that many businesses and Government institutions have been forced to adopt a home working model which will more than likely continue. Social media and video conferencing has come into its own, Zoom has become a household name overnight! The commercial properties market will have to become more creative as less commercial space will be required. High streets, already under pressure will look very different with much more residential space. The NHS has shown great resilience, the fallen heroes of which will not be forgotten. It will no doubt learn lessons from the stress it has been under. My greatest hope though is that our nation will return to its spiritual roots, we are a Christian nation and not forget that prayer has made all the difference in this global crisis much of it done on zoom. Long may the prayer continue! The church also is becoming a changed environment for the better.