an empty street in London during COVID-19 Lockdown

Photo by Christina Liaño

By Mia Hildebrandt

Christina Liaño, an 18 year old student living in London explained that on March 24 the city finally went into lockdown.

“People aren’t really taking it seriously. It’s going to get worse,” said Liaño.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone worldwide and countries have all taken action in their own way.

The first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK were on January 29. By March 4, 87 cases were confirmed positive.

As of March 29, the total has increased to over 19,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK with 1228 deaths.

Many countries in Europe took action to initiate lockdown, isolation, and social distancing regulations earlier than North America.

The UK is one country that did not initiate any regulations until just recently and is now seeing the drastic effects of the virus.

“We only got alerts from the government reminding us to wash our hands for the last few weeks,” said Liaño.

The city did not experience any closures and was not given instructions to follow social distancing until March 24.

“I went to the mall on Saturday [March 21] because it was still open. The malls only closed yesterday and schools didn’t close until this last Wednesday [March 18,]” said Liaño.

Libraries and gyms had remained open until the government took action Tuesday night.

Many schools in North America had closed by March 16, even with significantly less confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the continent.

Liaño was scheduled to get her tonsils removed in two weeks but the doctor assigned to perform the operation is now in self-isolation.

“His mom had coronavirus so now I can’t get it done because he’s in isolation,” Liaño said.

Liaño explained that London has one of the highest confirmed death rates of COVID-19.

“So many people have it, at our school there were two cases.”

With little information available about the novel virus, it’s very possible many could have been contagious and still attending school infecting others. Liaño said in the UK there have been more deaths related to the coronavirus than people who have recovered as of yet.

London’s decision to delay closures in the city has many believing that the virus is too far gone for the lockdown to make a difference.

Liaño moved to London from Spain and still has many close connections in Spain.

She explained that if an individual is found outdoors in Spain without a reason they are fined 600 euros. They haven’t begun handing out fines to people in London, but they have closed down all stores except grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals.

“The most exciting thing to do here is go for walks and now you can only walk with one other person and you have to be two meters apart,” said Liaño.

The government emphasized that people could continue to walk, run and bike as long as it is with people from the same household.

Liaño hopes that citizens abide by government regulations to minimize the damage already done.