Covid Delta Variant Delays Dreams of Vietnamese in UK
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|Many people showed up at shopping malls as restrictions were gradually eased. Photo: Zing|
“Life in the UK has almost returned to normal. However, the British government has not completely lifted the restrictions," Thuy Duong (26 years old) now living in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne said of the days after the Delta variant appeared in the UK.
"For people working in the service industry (such as restaurants, clothing stores, beauty salons), such a delay will greatly affect their jobs and lives," Duong said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on June 14 announced the postponement of the date of lifting all restrictive measures against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The move stems from an increase in cases linked to the Delta variant, which has the potential to spread faster and cause more hospitalizations in unvaccinated people.
Normalcy slowly returns to UK
While the UK was hit the hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic, the European nation is gradually recovering.
Ton That Huy (25 years old) said he had a lot of difficulties when the UK was closed because he couldn't go out on the street, meet friends and communicate with people around. Even he can only go out to exercise for 30 minutes a day and always have a police car patrolling outside to remind people. Now things are very different.
"Life here is 70-80% normal again," Huy said.
From May 17, the British government began to gradually lift social restrictions. Huy said that currently indoor restaurants are allowed to welcome 6 guests at a time, while outdoors people are allowed to gather but no more than 30 people.
Similarly, Thuy Duong also commented that life in the UK has almost returned to normal. Many people were able to confidently walk, hug each other or drink beer in public, have dinner in restaurants.
“Even so, fitness centers and beauty salons still have social distancing measures in place. People limit the number of people going to the gym by asking the gymnast to set a specific time before coming," Duong said.
Vaccines are one of the leading weapons that have helped the UK gradually relax restrictions and achieve such successes.
Thuy Duong has been injected with 2 doses of Pfizer vaccine. She said that the British government is doing very well in vaccination.
“As of now, people of all age groups can get the vaccine. Vietnamese people in the UK are treated equally as other community groups. Those who want to get vaccinated, just need to register for the vaccination schedule and go," Duong said
Tran Phuong Thao, 24, who lives in Manchester, said she had just had her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on June 30.
“The UK government has launched AstraZeneca injections for people over 40 years old and Pfizer for 18-40 year olds and pregnant women,” Thao said.
|Phuong Thao (24 years old) who lives in Manchester, England has received 2 doses of Pfizer vaccine. Photo: Zing|
New strain interrupts hopeful plans
However, the Delta strain spreading rapidly in the UK is threatening the hope of restoring life to the way it was before the pandemic.
In the face of a new strain, reopening policy in the UK may have to wait until July 19 after being delayed for more than a month. This is not what many people hope for.
Although many places have served outdoors, according to the BBC, 60% of hotels and restaurants have no outside space and so far have not been able to fully reopen.
Vietnamese people living in the UK also fall into a "passive" position when the national opening plan is delayed.
Thuy Duong said that because she works from home, the Delta variant that appeared in the UK did not affect her life much. However, for those in the service industry, the uncertain future of reopening can have a huge impact on their business.
"A clear example is that when I walk on the streets of London, I see a lot of shops going bankrupt and being forced to close because they can't stand the effects of the prolonged pandemic," Duong said.
|Propaganda slogans on wearing masks are posted in many places. Photo: Zing|
Many people's personal plans were also affected by the arrival of the Delta variant in the UK.
Huy said a friend of his had to rearrange the wedding schedule after the UK postponed easing restrictions for another four weeks.
“My friend planned a wedding and invited quite a few people after it was announced that the opening plan was June 21. So when the opening plan was delayed, they had to reschedule the wedding because the regulations on pandemic prevention do not allow gatherings of more than 30 people," Huy said.
|Bolton, one of the areas to rapidly deploy vaccines in the UK, has recorded a case of Covid-19 related to the Delta strain. Photo: Christopher Furlong.|
Besides, he said that his workplace sometimes organizes events for employees (about 30-40 people), however, because of the delay order, they have to postpone the schedule.
“It is also not certain that until July 19, the opening plan will be on schedule to hold the event or not. It also depends on the government's assessment of new strains like Delta," Huy said.
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White House said it began sending Vietnam two million doses of Covid-19 vaccine Tuesday under Biden's promise to help countries struggling with the pandemic.