2020 – 16 – coronavirus

Coronavirus: …not with a bang but a whimper

Hello friend,

I hadn’t intended on blogging about the coronavirus but the situation has changed somewhat. I was one of those people who dismissed the initial panic as fearmongering – boy, am I eating my words! It seemed that every four years there was another Asian flu labelled as potential pandemic, which invisibily burnt itself out – this coronavirus can’t be much worse than the other viruses – which kill thousands every year – right? Wrong.

I had a family day visit booked with my Mother last week – she cancelled last minute. It was the right thing to do – well, she is 80 (sorry mum).

Next to go last week were all Chapel activities. No more ‘band night’ The next day (Friday), we were told that the library was closing until further notice. By Monday, letters went out to high-risk groups allowing them to voluntarily quarantine themselves The next day – boom – full lockdown. We are now onto day 2.

We are still picking up our meals, a 5 minute phone call, showers, exercise in the yard, and so forth, but we have to maintain a 2 metre distance from other prisoners. It’s not really being maintained. It’s the staff who get too close – and that’s who will bring the virus into the prison. First meal and I was instructed to keep 2 metres away from the prisoner in front but ended up walking past a dozen prison officers within touching distance. Pointless. Same as the exercise yard. small yard – too many prisoners.

One older prisoner fell on the stairs – his lunch strewn all over the steps. Despite clearly having trouble with his legs the prison officer present did not offer any assistance. It was left to me and another prisoner. C’mon people – where’s your humanity?

I actually quite like these lockdowns – nice and quiet and lots of time to work on my own projects (and legal work) – 23 hours ‘bang-up’. So, I’m going to do one blog per day until the lockdown is over… or I run out of blogs – it could be 3 months or more!

Don’t bemoan having to stay at home – think of all the opportunities…

Be happy, be safe (really!) and be kind (also, really!)
Graham Coutts, 25th March 2020

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