KOCHI: In the UK, the situation is a bit alarming and there are some Malayalis who are desperate to return to Kerala. However, the Keralites in England feel the stringent steps taken by the British government have yielded results. England recorded around 80,000 Covid-19 positive cases and nearly 10,000 deaths as on Saturday. However, the Malayalis there said the National Health Service (NHS), which offers free healthcare to all, had done a commendable job in containing the outbreak.
“The state-funded NHS guarantees care for all. Every service, from ambulance, emergency care, hospital stays and complex surgeries, is free,” said Thiruvananthapuram native Aparna who lives in Leeds with husband Adithya and daughter Ankitha. The British government has urged people not to visit hospitals even if they have Covid symptoms. Instead, they have to contact a helpdesk and are required to fill and submit an online questionnaire. They have also been asked to stay at home and practice social distancing.
Recession a concern
The Keralites are concerned about the recession and loss of jobs in the wake of the pandemic. “Covid-19 has triggered a recession and many are losing their jobs. Some people have been placed on furlough scheme, where the government pays 80 per cent of their wages up to a maximum of 2,500 pounds,” said Adithya, Aparna’s husband.
“Our routines have changed completely. We hardly step out of home. We are allowed to go for morning walk, provided we maintain a 2m distance from anyone outside our household. Shopping for essential items like food and medicine is allowed but it should be as infrequent as possible,” he said. The couple has been working from home since the first week of March. “While there is no shortage of provisions, panic buying has led to scarcity of paracetamol tablets, hand wash, sanitisers and toilet paper. We also hear there are not enough personal protective equipment for hospital employees,” said Aparna.