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Coronavirus in Norfolk: How lockdown has affected you

PUBLISHED: 06:00 03 June 2020

The queue for the pharmacy during the Coronavirus lockdown in Wymondham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The queue for the pharmacy during the Coronavirus lockdown in Wymondham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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The unprecedented coronavirus lockdown has impacted upon all aspects of life in Norfolk and beyond – there is no-one who has not been affected by it.

Police want to ensure people stick to social distancing requirements. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPolice want to ensure people stick to social distancing requirements. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

In order to gauge its effects on our readership we asked you to fill in our EDP coronavirus survey, which has now been fully answered by 641 people from all walks of life across the county.

Questions ranged from the impact of lockdown to economic effects on families and businesses, from education to general health and wellbeing.

Our survey revealed that 19.1pc of people have been placed on furlough by their employer, while almost a third (30.9pc) have been working from home.

Of those, only 15.6pc said they had disliked working from their spare rooms, kitchens, living rooms and sheds, with the rest enjoying home comfort while they go about fulfilling their job roles.

People in the streets of Norwich wearing face masks. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANPeople in the streets of Norwich wearing face masks. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

But while many are content with their new working arrangements, more than a quarter of people who filled in our survey (25.4pc) said they are worried about their job security, with a further 7.6pc unsure.

One of the people polled, Emily, said she was concerned for her career: “I work for a small comms company which has four engineers on the books and will be getting rid of two. I’m hoping I will still have a job after being there for 24 years.”

Another respondent, who did not wish to be named, said he had already lost his job: “I was not furloughed, my company refused. Instead, they made 15 of us redundant.”

Others, however, said they had not at all been affected financially, with one person saying they had started a new job: “I was offered a new job on March 9 and worked my last shift at my previous job on March 18. Then lockdown was announced shortly afterwards.

Pictures from the Lock Down 2020. Norfolk Community Hospital NHS staff testing people for COVID19 Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANPictures from the Lock Down 2020. Norfolk Community Hospital NHS staff testing people for COVID19 Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“I’m very fortunate that I am being paid from my new job despite not physically starting, although I have been doing online training at home.”

The closure of schools for a time to everyone except for children of key workers has also impacted many families in Norfolk, with almost half of parents (43.5pc) saying that their child has not been receiving online lessons from their institutions.

More than three in five (61.7pc) said they have been providing home tuition for their children, spending an average of two-and-a-half hours per day doing so.

With so much extra strain placed upon health services during the outbreak, some people said they had struggled to access them at times.

NHS staff at the drive-through coronavirus testing facility at the Norwich Research Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNHS staff at the drive-through coronavirus testing facility at the Norwich Research Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Of those who said they had needed to access physical health services during the pandemic, only 45.7pc said they had been able to do so every time, with 28.9pc saying they had not been able to at all.

People said they had found encountered more issues when trying to access mental health services, with half (50.5pc) saying they had been unable to do so. Only 32.4pc said they had been consistently able to access mental health support.

Ros, from Ludham, said she had found it difficult to get the help she needed when she injured her knee: “The doctor would only do a telephone consultation and give pain killers. I need an MRI scan but can’t get one so I can’t walk. I have bought crutches but I’m in a lot of pain.”

Meanwhile, psychology student Beth said her mental health had “actually benefitted” from lockdown. She said: “I usually live such a fast-paced life so I’ve really enjoyed being able to slow down and spend time on activities I’m not usually able to, such as exercising, painting, and baking.

“It’s also allowed me to appreciate little things more. I’m grateful for the time at home, and the lovely weather makes it better.”

Often, the most devastation in recent times has been caused by the virus itself – of 543 people who answered the question, 45 (8.3pc) said they had lost a family member or a friend to Covid-19.

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One respondent said her male friend was only 55 years old and “in good health” before he contracted and later died from the virus.

Another person who did not wish to be named said: “A friend was sent home from hospital after being in with something else. They were back in after five days and died three days later after testing positive.”

On the government’s response to the virus, those who took our survey gave an average score of 5.1/10, while the same people gave local authorities in Norfolk a higher score of 5.9/10 for their efforts.

Flouting the rules: One in five people broke lockdown restrictions

Our survey saw 20.7pc of people admit to breaking lockdown rules, with another 5.9pc unsure as to whether they had.

Respondents anonymously gave a wide variety of reasons, with many having only broken guidelines accidentally or because it was necessary.

Some lost track of time and stayed out for longer than an hour while exercising, while others said they felt like they had to in order to protect their mental wellbeing.

Meanwhile one woman said she had to go into her dad’s house after he had fallen and there was a fire in his home.

Many of the reasons for deliberately breaking the rules were to do with family – dozens of people said they had gone out to visit people, though most took care to keep their distance.

Others, however, admitted to having physical contact with others from outside their household. One woman “cracked after seven weeks of not seeing my boyfriend”, while one man admitted to ignoring the two-metre rule when visiting his girlfriend.

‘We’ve lost our work and our dream home’

Everyone has been affected in some way by the coronavirus outbreak, but one family’s lives have been completely turned upside down.

They wished to remain anonymous, but told us of the devastating impact the outbreak and its side-effects have had upon their careers and personal lives.

The woman has been placed on furlough while her partner, who ran his own business, has lost all his work. They were in the process of buying their ideal home, before the sale went sour due to the lockdown.

“My job was remote anyway,” she said, “so I’m used to working from home and would have like to carry on, but we have a two-year-old so I don’t know how that would have worked.

“Losing our jobs has also caused us to lose our dream house – we had an offer accepted and had saved for two years.”


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