UK approach to tackle COVID-19 gains mixed reactions from British-Pinoys

Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2020 11:43 AM

LONDON - The UK has not followed Italy, Spain and France in its lockdown policies but after Scotland and Wales have announced cancelation of classes, England followed suit to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that has exploded around the globe. 

The virus, which originated in China, found a new epicenter in Europe, with Italy recording most cases.

While UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has advised to make drastic changes in people’s day to day lives, like avoiding non-essential contact to people and non-essential travels, some Pinoys in the UK feel these policies are not enough. It was only on Wednesday night that it ordered a shut down of schools. 

On Monday it was announced that people experiencing flu symptoms like fever and developing cough, should self-isolate for 14 days. But the NHS has stopped testing COVID-19 potential carriers on Friday. Only those already admitted at hospitals are being tested. 

But from this weekend, the vulnerable (over 70s) and those with underlying conditions would be isolated for at least 12 weeks. 

“For the measure it’s not enough. The school should be closed so that the children will be protected as much as possible,” said Thelma Manville, a resident of Kent.

“The government should ensure that people should stop travelling, both locally and internationally. Any people coming to this country should be quarantined immediately for at least 21 days. Our borders should be closed.”

Schools will be closed but children of key workers, such as NHS staff and vulnerable children could still go to school. 

Many Filipinos in the UK are working for the National Health Service or NHS. Some of them feel the action was slow and the protection may not be enough as the health institution takes the brunt, with the surge of cases. 

“All NHS posters says that we are all prepared for this. Try to call (111) and give your symptoms and the operator will just say self-isolate and stay at home,” said Ram, a UK resident, who is married to a nurse in the UK. 

Some who have volunteered information they have been exposed to COVID-19 positive patients are not even tested but only given advice to self-isolate for 14 days. 

“What I couldn’t understand our university has suspended our classes, no face to face classroom set up. But how about the other schools? They can implement same measures to halt or at least delay the spread,” said Elle Llagas, a nurse for the NHS for four years now. 

“And, I hate the fact also that the government has funds for paying private beds/ hospital, new ventilators coming, but not for PPEs? What are we front liners? Are we going to absorb all the viruses? Well, I wish everyone luck especially the old. I love this country.”