Globe, Migrants, Multiculture, United Kingdom

Immigrants in Covid times: ‘No’ to social distance

Mabel Encinas, a Mexican living in London, thinks that the general message from the authorities on how to deal with the virus was not really clear for the public. She also believes that to beat the virus we need physical distance rather than social distance. 


Nathan Raia


Mabel thinks that the British government has been dealing very badly with the pandemic and the recommendations were confusing for the population. Before, during the lockdown, the instructions were a bit clearer, but then, when they started to ease the restrictions and to allow people to go out, it was very ambiguous to say to stay alert, “how can you be alert of something that you cannot see?” she wonders.

Moreover, she has the feeling that they are trying to reduce their responsibility for what is going on and are putting the responsibility on individuals. It’s very common to blame people individually rather than acknowledging that there are structural issues that are affecting the lives of many.

She still remembers when Boris Johnson said that people had to be prepared to lose some loved ones.

However, in her opinion, this could have been avoided by taking difficult decisions, as that’s what politicians are paid for. Mabel thinks that this statement was a mistake and, a lockdown a couple of weeks earlier would have had a big impact in an easier recovery of the economy and avoided several deaths, especially among the most vulnerable ones.

Mabel Encinas

She also compares the situation in Mexico, her home country, with the UK. The mortality rate in Mexico is lower, however, the low income of the country hinders “the possibility of shielding people” or to have longer lockdowns.

Nonetheless, she says, the UK has more resources than Mexico, therefore, it had more chances to stop the spread of the virus. This is why Mabel wishes that the British government would have done more for the people.

Despite that, she never lost her sense of humour and she read different jokes on the net, and one of them is that some rules were some confuse in the style of “you can see another family member on Wednesdays, if it is not an even day and if it doesn’t and rain.”

Furthermore, “when other countries made the use of masks mandatory, the UK was still claiming that face coverings were not protecting people from each other. Now, as the evidence says the contrary, we have to wear masks, especially in places such as public transport.”

However, Mabel thinks that there are still irresponsible people of all ages not taking the right precautions.

For example, she has seen people not wearing a face covering in the tube, supermarkets or in crowdy pubs. But at the same time, she has noticed young people maintaining social distancing and being cautious.

She noticed that younger generations are accused of having an individualistic way of looking at life. It might seem that they are careless because the risk factor for them is very low. It could be that some of them just don’t care or even they believe that the government invented the fact that there is a pandemic ongoing, without realising that what they do, the way in which they behave, affects everybody. However, the issue is not youth, but individualism.

She feels that the decision of reopening pubs and clubs was not well considered.

Those businesses had to make an investment in order to reopen again under the new regulations for coronavirus, but, after a bit, some of them, had to close one more time, being even more affected.

Furthermore, when people are drunk, it’s more difficult for them to be aware and maintain social distance.

In her opinion, the concept of social distancing is wrong. We would need to observe physical separation, not social distance.

We are already promoting social distancing in terms of class gender, race, migrations, nationalities and so on, hence, we don’t need more social distance, what we actually need is more social dialogue and cooperation, and share our experiences while maintaining physical separation in order to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

(Photos: Pixabay)


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