If one looks beyond the main Covid-19 headlines and at stories of how it is affecting the general population, one can see all kinds of human tragedies unfold. Empathy and sympathy seem to have been two of the biggest casualties of the war on the virus.
As the general panic continues and talk of a second lockdown gathers pace, isn’t it time we remembered we are, first and foremost, human? Humans, by and large, are not solitary creatures and function best when they have the support of others.
In maternity wards, partners are not allowed to be with their wives and girlfriends until the last stages of labour. In a number of cases, fathers missed the birth of their child, having been given too little notice to attend the maternity ward. Cancer wards see patients undergoing hours of gruelling chemotherapy, hooked up to drips, without support from friends or relatives.
Our old people also go unvisited in care homes, surely affecting their mental fragility still further and people are dying alone in hospitals. Is this really the sort of end we all imagined for ourselves?
A myriad of new laws and regulations mean that in our everyday lives, many of us cannot visit another’s home, we are urged to remain socially distant, wear masks obscuring our mouths and are prevented from even sitting with friends in the pub. All these are difficult, but in general, are obstacles that can be overcome.
NHS England recently wrote to hospitals asking for permission for partners to attend maternity units, after a campaign called for these bans to be overturned. However, strict restrictions remain in most hospitals for many other situations, as they follow national guidance on inpatient visitors.
Once again, blanket regulations are used to control a situation and prove, as if any more proof was need, that one size does not fit all. Those people vulnerable to this virus are old enough and wise enough to make their own decisions. We must return to a life of individual responsibility. We must remember we are human.
Martin Day – Party Secretary