Freedom? Week 19, November 22nd to 28th 2021 inclusive

 

Monday, November 22nd

From the BBC website:

  • In Belgium, rules on face masks have been tightened, including in places such as restaurants, where Covid passes are already required, and most people will have to work from home four days a week until mid-December.
  • The Netherlands has imposed a three-week partial lockdown after recording a record spike in Covid cases. Bars and restaurants must close at 20:00, and crowds are banned at sports events.
  • Germany is introducing restrictions on people who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 – they will be excluded from certain venues, amid a rise in cases.
  • In Greece, unvaccinated people are barred from indoor spaces including restaurants, cinemas, museums and gyms from today, even if they test negative.
  • Also from today, Slovakia is limiting restaurants, non-essential shops, shopping malls and events to those who have been vaccinated. In the areas with the highest rates, restaurants are restricted to take-away services and gyms are shut.
  • The Czech Republic is limiting access to restaurants, sports events and cultural events to those who have been vaccinated.
  • Only people who are vaccinated or have recovered from coronavirus can access most non-essential services, except food shops and pharmacies, in Romania. Shops close at 21:00 and there’s a curfew for those who’ve not been vaccinated.
  • Austria has returned to a full national lockdown because of a recent rise in infections.

There’s been another night of violent clashes in the Netherlands.  People have had enough.

I’m going to see White Christmas tonight – I booked it ages ago, at which point I was supposed to be going to Scotland in September, not November!   So the ironing will be being left for another night.  But at least it should distract me from all the stress about seeing the doctor on Wednesday.

Lots of rumours about new managers.

 

Tuesday, November 23rd

We beat Villareal 2-0, and are through to the group stages 🙂 .

Advice about WFH in Northern Ireland has been “strengthened” – but without an actual order/directive.  In my experience, most private sector employers couldn’t give two hoots about employees’ well-being, so I don’t think “advice” is going to achieve very much.

Here in England, the latest advice is to take a lateral flow test before you go anywhere busy, but, again, people aren’t going to do that because of work issues – people can’t afford to have 10 days off work, unless they work in the public sector and get unlimited paid sick leave.

Infection rates both locally and nationally are going back up, but this seems to be the pattern – up a bit, down a bit.

 

Wednesday, November 24th

This was meant to be a Covid diary, not a personal health diary, but I’ve now been referred to a specialist and am awaiting an appointment date.  I’m not coping very well.

In Covid news, Slovakia’s going into a two week lockdown, and Poland may be next.  There’ve been protests in Ukraine against restrictions.  And Israel’s said that around 40% of cases there are in kids below the age of 12: they’re to start vaccinating younger kids.

 

Thursday, November 25th

I was told yesterday, after a 40 minute wait to speak to someone, that I would get a message today with an appointment.  No message.  I tried to ring to ask what was going on, spent 59 minutes in a phone queue (thankfully, my colleague is WFH today, so I had the office to myself), and was then told that they hadn’t done anything about it.  I cried down the phone.  The man said he’d ring me back.  Someone did then ring me back, and offered me a phone appointment.  I said that that was no use.  He then got me a proper appointment.  So that’s progress.  But what a palaver.   But it’s progress.

Ralf Rangnick looks likely to be named United interim manager.

And there is a new variant, and apparently this is the worst one yet, with over 30 mutations.  It appears to have emerged in Botswana, and spread to South Africa.  Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini are being put on to the red list.

 

Friday, November 26th

Good job I’m not trying to get to Edinburgh this weekend.  Storm Arwen is threatening eastern Scotland and NE England, and a lot of things have been cancelled.  Let’s just hope that it doesn’t cause any injuries or major damage.

Several more countries have imposed bans on travel from southern Africa, but this nasty new variant is already in Europe –  a case has been found in Belgium.

It’s one thing after another …

 

Saturday, November 27th

Well, it’s all going on.  Not for me – I’ve spent most of the day clearing out the spare room – but in general.  Inevitably, two cases of the new variant, Omicron, have been found in the UK.  Four more southern African countries have been added to the red list.  And anyone arriving in the UK, from anywhere, will have to take a PCR test on arrival, and self-isolate until they get the result.  Contacts of anyone with the new variant will have to self-isolate for ten days.

It’s all happened so quickly.  People, including rugby teams, and indeed the mum of someone I know, are stranded in South Africa, trying desperately to find a way home.

Wearing masks on public transport and in shops, but not hospitality settings, is to be made compulsory again.  But, TBH, that’s a waste of time.  People who’ve stopped doing so will not start again, and you can’t expect bus drivers, waitresses, shop checkout staff etc to challenge people who could potentially turn nasty.

Hopefully, things aren’t as bad as feared, but we saw what happened with the Alpha and Delta variants.

Great :-(.

On top of all this, Storm Arwen’s brought high winds and snow.  It’s been quite windy here, but not as bad as in some areas, and we’ve had no snow, but there’s been some within about 20 miles.   Three people have tragically been killed, one of them in Ambleside, and there’s been quite a bit of damage, and disruption to transport.

Oh dear.  What a day.

 

Sunday, November 28th

On top of everything else, we now have snow.  Yes, it looks very pretty, but it’s on the roads and the pavements and will probably freeze up overnight.

Seeing as snow was not forecast, I went to Dunham Massey.  Then came home, in the snow.  Later, went out to the Flower Park, in the snow.  Then watched our 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

 

Cases of the Omicron variant are now popping up everywhere.  It was inevitable, but it’s not good.  Morocco’s banned all international flights for a fortnight, Israel’s not admitting anyone other than Israeli citizens/residents returning from abroad.  It’s like, here we go again.

 

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