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Suzanne Breen

Lockdown complainers are not under house arrest

Suzanne Breen

There's no conspiracy to the restrictions here


Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2020

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2020

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2020

Lockdown life is immensely tough for some in our society. Isolation imposed on our old folk, often lonely before coronavirus even hit these shores.

Forced to wave through a window at the grandchildren they long to hold and hug. Not knowing when or if they will ever do so again.

The parents of severely disabled children, struggling to provide complex round-the-clock care with schools closed and outside support curtailed. Physically and mentally burned out every night, but having no choice but to get up in the morning and start all over again.

Women and children living in abusive situations with their previous routes to support and safety shut down. Those without access to gardens or green spaces have also paid a price.

But outside such genuine cases, I have no time for the vast majority of coronavirus complainers who demand that lockdown is swiftly lifted.

We are not under 'house arrest'.

We were asked to stay indoors in order to protect the weakest and most vulnerable in our society.

Lockdown life mightn't be ideal, but let's put it in perspective. It's not as if we are being incarcerated in a basement cell with only four walls to stare at and security guards stationed outside. The vast majority of us have broadband, TV, and radio.

If we don't have books in our homes, they can be easily accessed online. Suffering is not being unable to go to the hairdressers or the pub.

It's frustrating when you can't nip round to your mate's house for a barbecue on a sunny Sunday afternoon, but it's not a breach of your human rights.

Yes, there have been a handful of instances of PSNI heavy handedness, but we don't live in a police state and it's an insult to those in other parts of the world who actually do to suggest otherwise. Coronavirus is not much ado about nothing, and it's not the flu. The Government's response has not been a massive over-reaction. If anything, it was criminally slow to act to protect its citizens.

The restrictions in place are not part of a massive conspiracy. There are legitimate concerns that the new coronavirus contact tracing app could open the door to state surveillance that isn't public health-related.

Yet those on the right who make these arguments have hardly championed the fight against Big Brother. Maybe their newfound love of liberty will see them champion the cases of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

There is an irony that while it is the working class who are being hit hardest in every way by coronavirus, it is middle-class male voices which whine loudest about lockdown in social and mainstream media.

Of course, we need to minimise the damage to our economy as much as possible but we should never do so by risking workers' lives. There are very real concerns about the recession, unemployment and poverty that lie around the corner. Yet those most loudly demanding an end to lockdown are those who have shown zero interest in the effect of Tory austerity on the poor.

Any easing of restrictions must not jeopardise lives. The coronavirus death toll may be falling, but the disease hasn't disappeared. It's still out there.

A return to anything like normality is impossible until a vaccine or effective treatment exists, and we shouldn't pretend otherwise.

A second wave of infections would bring another lockdown, and even greater economic damage. There is no quick fix or easy escape route from Covid-19, and it's disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

Belfast Telegraph