‘Freedom Day’ (or loss of freedom day) has been the topic of conversation this week, i.e. to wear a mask or not after the 19th of July. Personally, I shall continue to wear a mask in enclosed public spaces to protect those around me. However, the thing which worries me with been given such a binary position is that we are about to demonise one another (again), and the tensions play right into the hands of those in power.

It took the government three weeks to put India on the travel ban “red list”, two weeks after Pakistan and Bangladesh. As we know, the Delta variant spread quickly in the UK and infections are continuing to surge. Locally, only this last week 200 children were sent home from one of the secondary schools.

We have been in this position before: dither, delay, disaster. If we look at countries with similar successful vaccine rollouts, Israel lifted restrictions of mask-wearing and then reintroduced them within a day after cases started to rise at a fraction of the rate of what they are for us right now in the UK.

Why are we risking (again) undoing the great work and huge sacrifices we have all made over the last year? The risk of new variants due to high infection rates and the threat of long-Covid should send alarm bells. For some of us, it’s also the threat of this populist government who want to shift responsibility or blame so we all end up pitted against one another (again).

Sally Yalden