Lockdown has been a long hard road, says Mid Ulster Council chairperson
Lockdown for many in our society has been a long hard road which has put a severe burden on their normal way of life.
Reflecting on the anniversary of the first lockdown, Chair of the Council Councillor Cathal Mallaghan said some people have faced months and months of isolation and loneliness because the only way they could protect themselves was by staying apart from others.
He said: “This is further pronounced for some sections of our community who have had no access to technology or a decent internet connection.
“It has been incredibly difficult for families trying to deal with remote learning even with teachers having done brilliantly during this phase of lockdown, all the while parents and carers doing their own job and again we have seen how much we rely on access to technology and internet.”
Councillor Mallaghan said this last few weeks parents have been able to breathe a sigh of relief as children have been returning to school.
“As a parent of two primary aged children I’m not sure who was more excited, me or my children!” he continued.
“The conversation, however, is beginning to change. Now that the vaccine roll out is making tremendous progress thanks to all our hard working health workers.
“People are now evaluating how they will do their work in the future and how they can spend more time doing the things that make them happy.
“Working from home will no longer be something we had to do because of social distancing but part or the working week. This brings huge benefits including reducing time commuting to work.
“This takes vehicles off the road, reduces congestion and ultimately ensures we have cleaner air. It means we can have more time with our family.
“People are looking at how they have transformed their business, using internet sales for the first time. Doing our meetings over Zoom or Teams means we can improve productivity, getting more done by utilising our available working time.
“We are appreciating more our environment, getting acquainted more with local beauty spots and fantastic walking trails. We have been forced out of gyms and recreation centres to forests and parks.
“Ultimately one year on from the first tragic death from Covid 19, over 6,400 people have died prematurely across this island. Our Health Service has been shook to its core and the health of our citizens has been severely impacted as a result of cancelled appointments and procedures. This will leave a devastating legacy.
“However, it appears that we are at the beginning of the end and I hope that is the case. I sincerely hope people continue to follow the public health advice regardless of the progress that is being made. We have experienced something together that has been difficult but has also brought the best out in our community.
“Never before have so many people done so much to help care for vulnerable and isolated members of our communities. Whether it was delivering shopping or prescriptions, picking litter from our roads sides, putting classes on using virtual platforms, cleaning road signs or whatever act of goodness they decided to do. That was a huge aspect of this difficult time.”
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