We are coming to the close of the seventh week of restrictions on public life due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The lockdown – which isn’t quite the lockdown many would want – came into effect on March 23 as the true scale of the virus threat became undeniable.
On that day 335 people were registered as the virus being a factor in their deaths and 6,650 people in the UK had tested positive.
As of yesterday 211,364 people have tested positive in the UK and the country has suffered the tragic deaths of 31,241 people who had tested positive for the virus, including loved family members and friends in Thanet.
— Kent Specials (UK) #StayHomeSaveLives (@KentSpecials) May 7, 2020
The restrictions have meant staying at home, apart from once daily exercise, shopping, picking up medicines or helping the more vulnerable, and working from home if possible.
Our key workers, from hospital to care home staff and supermarket staff to binmen and postal workers, have continued to keep vital services going while volunteers and isle organisations have gone into action to make sure people are receiving food, care or just a phone call to break the isolation.
Many of our small businesses have been forced to close and despite furlough schemes and promised help for the self-employed – which is yet to be paid – the coming months are uncertain.
Events have been cancelled, Dreamland has confirmed it will not open this summer and most youngsters are learning at home while schools are closed to all but key workers’ children. And, of course, there have been the queues to get in the supermarket and the struggle to get deliveries and click and collect.
The tragedy has impacted Thanet with 540 people who have been tested proving positive for the virus. Up to April 24 Thanet has registered the loss of 75 loved ones, with Cliftonville West suffering the greatest number of losses.
The government says the UK is through the peak thanks to social distancing and the work of our NHS staff. However, there are reports in Thanet and across the country of people flouting the restrictions, causing anxiety of a second wave.
A small number of fines have been issued in Thanet for those ignoring the regulations but there continue to be reports of large gatherings in areas such as Athelstan Road.
Reports of gathering also include groups at the Lido and people stopping to picnic on Margate Main Sands.
Despite the difficult times the community has come together, from the Thursday evening clapping for frontline workers to the ‘front garden’ VE Day parties yesterday (May 8) and the multitude of groups and individuals going out of their way to make sure others are looked after.
Our young people have created beautiful rainbow posters thanking frontline staff, industrious residents have made personal protective equipment – from scrubs to full face visors – for those who need them and teachers have found online ways to stay in touch with their pupils.
We have seen nature flourish and our wildlife become more visible with our nesting birds, resident foxes and an abundance of bees and butterflies.
The Prime Minister is looking at easing restrictions with an announcement being made tomorrow (May 10) on what the exit plan from ‘lockdown’ will be.
Whether now is the right time for those steps is the subject of debate, as is how our way of living might change in the future and whether our economy will be able to weather the storm.
As we wait for that announcement we share pictures of this moment in history with the above gallery of images capturing Thanet life during the shutdown, taken by Margate photographer Carl Hudson (unless otherwise credited).