The COVID-19 epidemic in Shanghai lasted for nearly two months, during which time the city’s 25 million inhabitants were quarantined. The only time people were allowed out of their houses was to take their required COVID examinations, and food was rationed.
Mild demonstrations were place in the city, and some Chinese citizens even took to the country’s tightly censored online forums to air their grievances. The government has removed a lot of these expressions, including footage showing individuals being physically restrained.
Only in May did the lockdowns in Shanghai end.
Despite the fact that the UK has lifted its COVID-related limitations (stores, restaurants, and nightclubs are all open, and isolation is no longer required upon a positive test), former Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the decision to rule out a hypothetical lockdown “irresponsible.” Officials have warned that huge summer gatherings may cause an outbreak of Covid when the virus returns for a fifth wave.
Is another lockdown in the UK likely?
The World Health Organization predicted that the pandemic would cease by the end of 2018. However, this can only happen if countries throughout the world work together to reduce transmission and supply vaccines to areas that haven’t yet been immunized.
A new strain or hybrid variation could emerge, the study says, potentially triggering a “reset” of the pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) report says that in the best case scenario, this will be prevented by immunizations, immunity from previous infections, and less severe variations.
So, is it possible that the UK may fall into lockdown once again? The quick response is “yes.” Until the likelihood of a harmful variety completely vanishes, another lockdown is unfortunately always a possibility.
Johnson stated this about the possibility of future lockdowns: “I think it would be irresponsible of any leader, in any democracy, to declare that they’re going to rule out something that could save life. And I truly feel that what we did helped save needless deaths.
I have to be completely forthright with you: it is possible that a new, more lethal variety exists; one that disproportionately affects children; and that we, as a society, need to take immediate action to contain. I’m not ruling out any possibilities at this time.
But I seriously doubt that will occur. There has been a huge increase in vaccination rates in the United Kingdom, and I believe we have reached the point where the virus is losing its overall power.
Most Britons have either had COVID or have been vaccinated against it, but after experiencing a period of “normalcy,” they are unlikely to agree to re-enter another lockdown.
More than seven out of ten Brits have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a new analysis from the Office for National Statistics. That many people have had the virus and experienced minimal symptoms is demonstrated.
Fear of a more lethal COVID strain at the outbreak’s outset was a major motivator for enforcing lockdown regulations. The same level of concern does not present as it did at the start of the outbreak.
It will be challenging to get the people in a mindset where they are willing to make lifestyle changes again to prevent the spread of a new variation after all isolation and testing has been abandoned.
In the United Kingdom, mental health problems spiked significantly during the time of lockdown.
A lot of UK companies, especially those in the tourism, entertainment, and building industries, lost a lot of money because of the lockdowns. Another lockdown might be disastrous for certain companies in this era of rising inflation.
Savanta found that the second lockdown in the UK towards the end of 2021 would force one in five enterprises to either shut down or discontinue trading. Similarly, 77% of companies surveyed were of the opinion that a second lockdown would have a detrimental effect on the UK economy.
It may be argued that ordering the public to stay indoors once again would have a major effect on people and businesses in the United Kingdom. The government may have a very difficult, if not impossible, time doing this.
What effects could a lockdown have on businesses?
For small businesses, the government’s refusal to rule out the possibility of future shutdowns is devastating, according to Take Payments’ Sandra Rowley. Our survey found that in 2022, 63% of business owners expect lockdowns to be their greatest difficulty.
“Business owners are already feeling the pinch from the rising cost of living, labor shortages, supply chain problems, and energy costs. Small businesses can’t afford to shut down because of an increase in COVID infections that could have been avoided with looser rules on things like wearing face masks and keeping a safe distance from others.
As many businesses are currently having to make repayments on COVID loans which the government offered to businesses during previous lockdowns, over one-fifth of business owners worry about what support is available if they had to halt trade again due to a lockdown.
“Unless the government is willing to offer support which financially benefits businesses, it’s hard to comprehend imposing another lockdown on businesses that are already struggling and have been struggling for the past two years.”
BizBritain’s founder and CEO, Matt Gubba, disagrees and says another shutdown would be untenable for the country’s economy and its citizens. When asked about whether lockdowns were still a possibility, Gubba stated, “We are in a fundamentally different place now.” Another lockdown would be disastrous for the government’s finances and political standing. Of course, there will always be a vocal minority of fanatics on the margins arguing for lockdowns whenever it serves their purposes.
However, their opinions do not reflect those of the government or the population at large. In my opinion, at this moment in time, the vast majority of people will not accept any further limitations on their freedoms. Especially in light of the broader context of rising prices, inflation, and conflict. It’s past time to put lockdowns in their proper historical context.
Place Informatics CEO Clive Hall said, “Data from previous lockdowns actually showed that they had a positive impact for some local towns as people steered clear of larger cities and shopping centres.” However, the restrictions undoubtedly caused many businesses to lose revenue.
The loss of shoppers and the discretionary income they generate will be the most devastating effect of any future lockdowns. Also, no matter where they’re located, businesses like cafes, restaurants, and boutiques will suffer.
Our historical lockdown data also demonstrated that shoppers are more likely to visit a retail park with a dominant discount retailer like Aldi, M&S, or a similar chain. DIY and home renovation stores also saw an uptick in demand and traffic.
It would be unfortunate to disrupt the recovery of so many small businesses across the UK at a time when they are showing signs of strength after a difficult couple of years, as our data shows that local towns and communities are actually seeing an increase in footfall as more people work from home and use local facilities.
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