A Travellerspoint blog

June 2020

Travels on Hold in Hove, UK

Route: Brighton & Hove area

sunny 20 °C

MAY 2020

Now into early May and the Coronavirus lockdown continues. Boris (Boris Johnson the British Prime Minister) says we are past the worst and restrictions could be eased soon, we wait with bated breath. Our trip to Northumberland had been cancelled, so we are focusing on South Africa in June to kickstart our travels, even though this seems more doubtful as each day passes.

Our routine remained pretty much the same as it had been for the previous four weeks. Generally staying at home and only going out to exercise and shop. Although frustrated by the situation we were all grateful to be virus free and able to spend the lockdown in comfortable surroundings.

On Sunday 10 May the much anticipated announcement on lockdown easing was delivered by our Prime Minister Boris Johnson. And what a disappointment, as it was not much more than an almost incoherent pile of drivel from which no one was any the clearer as to what was changing. That was followed, the next day, by a 50 page document aimed to provide some clarity but which failed miserably. Rather than providing a clear road map it just made things even more confusing with endless contradictions imbedded in a new set of rules. For us, all that appeared to have changed was that we could go out more often and can exercise further from home, provided we returned the same day.

The Grand Hotel, where the UK Prime Minister have stayed and famous for the Brighton Bombing in 1984

The Grand Hotel, where the UK Prime Minister have stayed and famous for the Brighton Bombing in 1984

Lockdown easing, Brighton & Hove beach very popular

Lockdown easing, Brighton & Hove beach very popular

The Band Stand on Brighton Seafront

The Band Stand on Brighton Seafront

Brighton Pier, closed due to Covid-19

Brighton Pier, closed due to Covid-19

Duke of York Cinema Theatre where we go see movies when we are not world nomads

Duke of York Cinema Theatre where we go see movies when we are not world nomads

Regency Architecture in Hove Actually, where we take our exercise during the lockdown

Regency Architecture in Hove Actually, where we take our exercise during the lockdown

Preparing to shop

Preparing to shop

The media was full of jokes about the announcement and document but also scathing of the UK government as to how they were handling the situation. The conclusion drawn was that this government had proven themselves to be incompetent and their policies a shambles, overall not fit to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. If they had only be honest about their failings I am sure the public would have been more sympathetic and applaud the things they had achieved.
Frontline workers continued to do a fantastic job, even without the full support the government had promised, and the infection rate had begun to fall. The only consolation is that it could have been worse, we could have Donald Trump in charge. We do feel for our friends, and everyone else in the USA.

At the end of May there was a new announcement from Boris, “restriction are to be relaxed”. With the number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths continuing to fall the government decided the time was right to loosen the restrictions. This meant that form the 1st June the following would now apply:

Schools for certain age groups could re-open, but it wasn’t compulsory for parents to send their children back if they didn’t believe it to be safe;
Two households could now socialise but numbers were still restricted. A total of 6 people could meet at any one time. However, that meeting should only take place in a private garden or public open space;
Open markets and car showrooms could open from the1st June followed by all other retailers on the 15th June;
The process of moving home could resume on 1st June;
Time spent outside was now unlimited;
People were actively encouraged to go back to work if they couldn’t work from home. Those returning to work were asked to walk, cycle or drive to get there and if that wasn’t possible only then take public transport. For those taking public transport face masks must be worn;
The government issued strict guidelines to businesses as to how they could create a safe workplace and if they weren’t implemented resuming operations would be forbidden; and
Restrictions would remain in place for hairdressers, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, hotels and places of worship until at least the 4th July.

However, in respect of all of the above social distancing of 2 meters still remained. It is also worth noting that these measures only applied to England, the rest of the UK followed a similar route tailored to account for their own unique situations (the first minister in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland made those decisions).
This news was broadly welcomed by the general public, but with a degree of trepidation. The general view in the scientific community was that it was a bit too soon, they would have liked the number of cases to be lower before loosening the restrictions. However they did appreciate that the effect on the economy also needed to be considered when coming to these conclusions.
It was also at this time that a track and trace system was introduced as a further measure to combat the spread of the virus. This meant that from now on people that contracted the Coronavirus should provide details of anyone they had been in contact with (Contact means closer than 2 meters and for a combined period of more than 15 minutes). A team of tracers would then contact those people and ask them to self isolate and provide assistance in achieving this.

For us, not a great deal changed. Rob continued to work from home, our walks were a bit further afield and we had a few small group get togethers with friends (abiding by the 2 meter rule all the time).

One of Anne's creations, Coffee and Walnut Cake

One of Anne's creations, Coffee and Walnut Cake

Another one of Anne's creation, spicy ginger iced biscuits

Another one of Anne's creation, spicy ginger iced biscuits

One of the Jack and Jill windmills, another walk close by from where we are staying

One of the Jack and Jill windmills, another walk close by from where we are staying

Jack and Jill windmills, don't know which one is Jack and which one is jill, but this one is now a private house

Jack and Jill windmills, don't know which one is Jack and which one is jill, but this one is now a private house

Thistles in bloom on the Downs

Thistles in bloom on the Downs

Sheep sheltering from the sun on The South Downs National Park

Sheep sheltering from the sun on The South Downs National Park

Different location for our walk, along the River Adur

Different location for our walk, along the River Adur

By now our June/July visit to South Africa had been cancelled and we were focusing our thoughts on the trip to Canada and USA in August. We were also hoping that the new international travel restrictions issued by the UK government, effective from 8 June, would be lifted by then (currently anyone entering the UK from abroad would be required to go into quarantine for 14days). This enforced quarantine was unique to the UK and its implementation was considered far too late to have any meaningful benefit. Its announcement was also delivered in the usual confused manner. First the Prime Minister said that it would only apply to air travel, then later realised his mistake and added land and sea. Travel from Ireland and France were initially excluded but later revised to Ireland only.

The other big story around this time involved the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings. Against the general rules of the government lockdown he travelled from London to the North of England with a potentially Covid-19 infected family. This serious breach created calls from the public, the opposition parties and even some members of the ruling party for him to resign or for the PM to sack him. Neither happened, much to the dismay of the majority of British people. Especially as other members of parliament that had broken these rules had either resigned or had been sacked immediately.

We remain optimistic that our travels be able to resume soon, even if the format is more restricted. Our plan is to do in 2021 what we weren’t able to do in 2020. But for the moment we are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to go to Canada in August and restart our travelling lifestyle from then. We usually like to plan in advance but with current uncertainty this has not been possible.

Views across the South Downs NP, in the background is Brighton & Hove

Views across the South Downs NP, in the background is Brighton & Hove

Downs Views

Downs Views

More Downland views

More Downland views

Wind directional tree on the Downs

Wind directional tree on the Downs

Top on the Downs on one of our walks

Top on the Downs on one of our walks

Walking on the Downs

Walking on the Downs

Another walk on the Downs

Another walk on the Downs

Brighton to London Railway Viaduct

Brighton to London Railway Viaduct

Underneath the London to Brighton Railway Viaduct

Underneath the London to Brighton Railway Viaduct

Personal Observations & Interesting Facts

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Statistics -May

At the start of May the world had registered 3.5 million cases and 245,000 deaths. At the end of the month this had risen to 6.2 million cases and 372,000 deaths.
Worst hit were the USA (1.8m cases & 106,000 deaths), Brazil (500,000 cases & 29,000* deaths) and Russia (406,000 cases & 5,000* deaths). Worst affected in Europe were Spain (286,00 cases & 27,000 deaths), UK (272,000 cases & 38,000 deaths), Italy (233,000 cases & 33,000 deaths) and France (189,000 cases & 29,000 deaths).
By the end of May it was South America that was being hit the hardest with cases increasing fast especially in Brazil, Chile and Peru. In contrasts, the Caribbean islands had been relatively lightly effected due to strict lockdown rules being enforced before the outbreak could take hold. There also seemed to be a correlation between the quality of leadership and the number of cases, Donald Trump in the USA, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Boris Johnson in the UK.
The picture in the UK at the end of May did appear to be improving. The weekly number of cases and deaths had been falling constantly throughout the month. However, now the concern was for the elderly in care homes where the majority of the cases and deaths were occurring.
The world was also making progress in the fight against Covid-19. Vaccines were being tested in a number of countries around the world and detailed studies were providing us with a better understanding of how the virus works. One interesting fact revealed from a study undertaken in China was that only 0.3% of cases are transmitted whilst being out in the open air. This supported the easing of UK restrictions in private gardens and public open spaces.

  • It is believed that not all deaths are being recorded.

Posted by MAd4travel 03:15 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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