Child in mask

While we are still restricted in our movements and the places we can visit, one way of escaping the confines of lockdown, even relaxed, is to take virtual tours. One of my acquaintances followed her entire holiday itinerary online, virtually visiting the parks and temples of India where she had expected to be on the day.

We are all exeriencing the effects of the pandemic in different ways and it often takes conscious effort to remember people whose circumstances are different from our own. Our prime minister and his government daily remind us that they do not understand the consequences and impacts on ordinary people; often their relief packages are designed for what they imagine the average person. Their imagination never stretches to the most disadvantaged in our society who time and time again are left to fall through the cracks.

Over the last few years I've been told "it can't get any worse", "I've got nothing to lose" so many times I would have been able to live for a week on the proceeds if I'd received a penny each time; with an increase to 4p for those who were in work it might even have stretched to a month.  They were comments in relation to Brexit, but Brexit Britain has to live in the real world which is now suffering a pandemic and some of those comforted in their belief that nothing could get worse for them personally or for the counry as a whole may now be reconsidering. But whatever the consequences for us of Brexit, even combined with the pandemic, they are not likely to make it as bad for the majority of us as it is elsewhere.

Imagine being displaced from your home because of war. Imagine living in overcrowded camps in a makeshift tent because your house has been bombed. Imagine being deprived of the normal necessities of life - running water, adequate sanitation, decent shelter, medicines and sufficient food - and then being hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

That is what millions around the world are facing, including in Syria; people whom I have met but wouldn't know, and their children, are bound to be caught up in it: people who served my food, made my bed,  provided tourist information and welcomed me to their country. They are real people. Just like you and me. 

If you can afford it, please help. Don't hide, or ignore it. Don't look away. Don't comfort yourself by believing it "couldn't happen to me".  It can happen anywhere. Imagine if the blitz had lasted years rather than months. Would the people of London have deserved their fate? Would they have somehow been to blame? Would you look the other way

And if that doesn't convince you, remember that it is in all our interests to stop the virus spreading. We can't afford to close our borders so tightly it couldn't get in again.