23 Mar, 2020 @ 16:10
2 mins read

London diaries – Queues outside banks, empty roads, busy parks and a packed Tube

28 Days Later

AS someone who’s constantly watching and reading the Spanish news and the situation in Spain, I appreciate how important it is to stay home, so I try to apply the same principles during my self-isolation in London.

On Saturday however, I had to go to the bank.

I didn’t know what to expect, would it be busy or would people shy away?

On the drive there, it was the quietest I had ever seen the British capital during the day, in nearly 24 years on this planet.

Felt like a scene from Danny Boyle’s film 28 Days Later, coincidentally also based in London.

Once I got to the bank however, I was in for a shock. 

There was a queue to enter the building, with each person standing at least a metre or two apart from the person in front of them. 

ORDER: The British, famous for their orderly lines, are queueing outside a Natwest branch in London

I’d seen pictures of this happening in Italy and Spain, but it suddenly got a lot more real once I saw it in the city that never seems to take things seriously.

Another shock came when McDonald’s announced that all its restaurants would close from tonight, shortly followed by Nando’s.

Just goes to show that the situation is very serious, if you can’t even go for a Maccies or a cheeky Nando’s.

Hopefully this will go to show all the people that defied the government’s advice on the weekend and still went out and about in parks, beaches and other areas meant for social gatherings, that this situation isn’t a joke.

I’m glad that most of my peers seem to be taking the self-isolation advice on board and are staying at home, but it still blows my mind how people all over the country would decide to carry on with their lives as normal during a pandemic and head to a park to enjoy the sunshine.

What’s worse is that with the reduction in Tube services, the Underground was more packed than it was meant to be this morning.

Public transport, especially in rush hour should only be for people with vital jobs, such as NHS workers or those who work in supermarkets.

It’s astonishing the amount of building works that still haven’t been suspended and these people still have to use public transport to get to work.

Let me be clear, I’m not blaming the builders for going to work, I’m blaming their bosses for not temporarily suspending the building works so that less people are on the streets.

Apologies that this has felt like a rant, but in a metropolis such as London, with a population close to 10 million, everyone needs to play their part, or else it’s the perfect environment for the virus to spread.

Most people seem to be listening, let’s hope all our fellow Londoners open their eyes and ears too and take a leaf out of Spain’s book.

Dimitris Kouimtsidis

GOT A STORY? Contact me now: dimitris@theolivepress.es or call +34 951 273 575 or +44 75 358 167 18. Twitter: @dkouimtsidis.
Dimitris has a BA in History from the University of Leeds and an MA in Journalism (Sports) from the University of Lincoln.
He joined the Olive Press team as a journalist in January 2020.

1 Comment

  1. Someone you as the writer has taking this seriously. The P.M. Mr Johnson has not. Doesn’t only apply to London the whole of the U.K. needs to shutdown and everyone stay at home. No joining up with Friends, no social life nothing if you want to beat this virus then this is the only way to go restrictions not stupid Boris Johnson recommendations.

    Location : Canaries.

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