Covid pandemic: what is life like two years after the first lockdown?

On the two-year anniversary of the first UK lockdown we ask the people of Cardiff how life has changed

The total number of deaths with Covid listed on the death certificate currently stands at 186,094.

In March 2020 the first UK lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. During a TV address to the British people he said “From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.”  

In the years since much has changed. People were unable to travel, employees began to work from home and many were prompted to use the phrase “you’re on mute” more often than they would have liked.

Yet, the darker realities of the pandemic were felt too, with many across the country losing loved ones far too soon and unable to see others due to social distancing measures.

Two years on since the first lockdown we ask the people of Cardiff: how has life changed?

Stephen, 69, IT support

“The first six months, I was shielding because I’ve got a low immune system. It was difficult. I was allowed to go out in the street if I kept away from everyone. I became a house husband in a way. Doing the housework, getting the food ready for the evening. It was basically a role reversal. t’s been frustrating to not be able to go anywhere. We are planning (if we can) to go to the Philippines at Christmas.” 

Emyr, 22, bar tender

“Initially, like everyone, I was terrified when it first came in. I think the news scared us a lot. At the start we were outside clapping but gradually as it went on it brought out the negativity. It took away one of the foundations of what being a human is, which is human interaction. We were starved of that. Granted for a reason, we wanted to protect people. In the end it seemed more about control.” 

Faryar, 44, student

“The first lockdown although it was a forced holiday, it was a blessing in disguise. It changed my perception about how I prioritise things in my life. Going out for a cycle – I thought I had to religiously do it every week. Covid put a stop to that and I realised I could divert my effort to another activity that could give me the same satisfaction. Generally, it was a really valuable experience.”

Jack, 54, commercial manager

“I was actually living in Hong Kong at that time, but it was tough for everybody. I think the Welsh Government handled the lockdown(s) quite well. My children are based in different parts of the UK, it was difficult to see my kids and to see the rest of the family, and friends as well. So it could be quite lonely. And like most people, we’ve had to work from home. We do all our work by teams or by zoom meetings. So quite different.”

Ella, 20 and Lily 25, students

Ella: “I think it was a strange time. We didn’t know what was going to happen. I think that life’s changed a lot since then. It’s made time go a lot faster. I feel like it distorted our social reality.”

Lily: “I was a key worker. I was just working in a little supermarket. So, I felt like my life was quite different. I actually moved to Cardiff because of the lockdown. London got really claustrophobic and all of the perks of being in London dissipated.”