Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown of England, as people were instructed to stay home just as they did in March.
In his televised address Tuesday morning New Zealand time, Johnson said that a new type of coronavirus has caused the number of Covid-19 cases to rise rapidly in every part of the country.
Leeanne Coles, 31, a cosmetic therapist from Auckland, has been in the UK for 18 months and contracted Covid-19 when she went out for lunch with five of her friends on December 4.
“Six of us contracted the virus because we thought it was still relatively safe to go out based on what the government was saying at the time,” Coles said.
“The UK’s handling of the pandemic has been totally disappointing, its communications about the severity of (the coronavirus) have not been very clear and this latest shutdown is very disappointing.”
The new lockdown in England, the third, will continue until mid-February at least.
Coles, who holds a business holiday visa, moved to London in March – just as the city entered its first lockdown – after traveling around several parts of the UK.
“Boris Johnson said at the time that things would get better after Easter, but things have got worse since then,” she said.
Coles said she is struggling to find work as the beauty industry has been hit hard, and the outbreak has made it difficult to socialize or make friends.
She said isolation and isolation were so difficult, and she wonders how she will cope with at least another six weeks.
“I came to London thinking it would be cool,” Coles said, “but I was stuck in this apartment that I share with two other Kiwi and Australian residents, and only got out of isolation on New Year’s Eve.”
“I never really had a chance to make friends and I was feeling lonely. It’s really scary to think about what the future holds. I try to stay positive, but it’s hard.”
Coles said she had been hoping things would improve, but that she is losing hope now after the recent announcement. She would have considered moving to Canada or Dubai when the borders open.
Despite recovering from Covid-19, Coles says she has not yet returned to her full health.
“I haven’t finished traveling yet, so returning to New Zealand is not an option yet,” Coles added.
In Scotland, people have also been ordered to stay home on lockdown that will see schools remain closed until February.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed that 15 per cent of the tests were producing positive results there, which she said “illustrates the severity and urgency of the situation.”
Darren Lim, 43, former chef at Oyster & Chop, has moved to Edinburgh in search of better career opportunities and a better quality of life, and says the announcement came as a shock.
He moved there with his wife Mai, after obtaining a five-year work visa, with their two sons, Ben, 11, and Adam, 8.
“The news of the lockdown was unexpected and was a shock to all of us,” Lim said.
“Edinburgh is a university city, and with the departure of students and tourists, this upcoming closure may be the final nail in the coffin of the economy.”
Lim said he was looking forward to their move to Scotland because of its more exciting culinary scene and its proximity to other major cities in Europe.
Instead, he’s in a situation where his hospitality consulting business is in limbo and the only travel he gets is to the supermarket.
But with two vaccines now in place in Scotland, Lim said he could see “a light at the end of the tunnel”.
“It can’t go on like this, and there will be a need to make concessions with regard to the health of some people or the health of the nation, but I am confident and hopefully a reasonable solution,” Lim said.