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Lockdown II: A necessary but joyless venture

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No matter how much we were expecting the second national lockdown, there is a sinking feeling about our loss of freedom despite its limited nature.

Ten months after the first rolling of the shutters on our economy and movement, the nightmare of being home-bound weeks on end is a foreboding prospect.

Somehow, we managed to get through the March-to-May lockdown that curtailed our human spirit to socialise and mix in groups.

The deadly virus from Wuhan, China, reached our shores without invitation or fanfare to wreak havoc among the local population.

As an unknown quantity, the scare-factor was souped to the max, there was no knowledge of how the virus would behave or where it would strike next.

We were told to wash our hands, keep our distance, and limit our contacts to reduce contagion.

Cyprus wasted no time lifting the drawbridge to the foreign invader while telling people to hide under the table to ensure the lurgies would not get them.

Taking, swift evasive action, ensured the COVID monster devoured few victims in its quest for warm-blooded hosts.

Doors were locked, businesses were shut, nobody was allowed to enter the country.

As winter turned warmer, the number of cases dropped, and we walked into the sunlight again.

A level of normality resumed as the virus came under control, it had taken few lives but left scars on the landscape.

Several months of free association became our downfall.

With the summer slowly casting its shadow, more restrictions began to creep into our lives – the war was not over.

There was a lack of discipline in the population, fatigue had set in, there were plenty of COVID-deniers to weaken our defences.

It was increasingly difficult to shake off the virus face masks had to be worn in public spaces indoors and outside.

More rules were filtering into the background of our daily routine, curfews, partial lockdowns, hospitality shuttered, no gyms or sporting activity.

Rolling thunder

In the distance, we could hear the rolling thunder heralding the second wave of coronavirus.

You could no longer count the number of COVD-19 cases on one hand. The death toll was not just a blip on the horizon.

COVID had bared its teeth, it was here to rule and conquer, a warrior virus that required a well-drilled army to defeat it.

Like in many other countries, coronavirus could smell our lack of determination and resilience for a fight to the death.

When the heat was suddenly turned up, the government was found wanting.

It struggled to find its legs, to stand firm with a solid counter-punch combination.

COVID-19 has it on the ropes, a poor defence is allowing potential knock-out punches to get through.

After losing its way, the government has fallen back on its only credible alternative to indecision, slam the door shut on COVID.

For the second wave, there is a second lockdown lasting a minimum three weeks but, in all likelihood, it will go on for longer.

Despite the sacrifices made in the first siege, the virus returned to do more damage as cases and deaths have spiralled.

The only glimmering light is that Cyprus has started rolling out vaccines, although more is needed to make the population safe.

Inoculating the most vulnerable will ease pressure on the health service while alleviating the burden on frontline doctors and nurses who have become the forgotten heroes.

To soften the blow delivered to the health system and frontline workers, we have to live by text message.

From Sunday, exiting the house is allowed under conditions. For essential shopping, emergencies or exercise.

You know the drill, pick a number listed, send a text message to Big Brother to be let out of ‘jail’ on parole.

I am guessing there will be a high volume of rule-breakers because many remain unconvinced.

This is either down to ignorance, stubbornness or taking individualism to its absolute zenith.

To be honest, there is less togetherness than the first time around.

It is more a feeling of fear than a sense of duty we batten down the hatches on COVID-19.

By now, everyone knows someone who has contracted coronavirus.

To change the ugly narrative, we must to stand tall and stay home.