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Fourth week of UK lockdown begins in a world changed beyond recognition- where Easter is preached from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s kitchen

Easter Sunday worshippers watched the Archbishop of Canterbury give his service from a table in his kitchen. Image: Church of England.

UK deaths exceed 10,000, PM tells the country his battle with COVID-19 ‘could have gone either way’ but for two NHS angels, and the Archbishop of Canterbury gives his Easter sermon from his kitchen

The fourth week of the UK’s extraordinary lockdown began with what the Health Secretary Matt Hancock described as the sombre news that British hospital deaths had now reached 10,612.

There’s always the tragic caveat that hundreds, perhaps additionally thousands of elderly people have also been dying officially uncounted as yet in care homes and in the community.

There’s now an almost daily ritual where journalists pass on desperate pleas to Cabinet ministers chairing the the Downing Street media conference from frontline NHS and care workers that they fear for their lives because they lack adequate PPE (personal protective equipment).

It’s in short supply because of the intense global demand.

The shortfall is being made up by British garment and clothes manufacturers bringing their production facilities to bear on the urgent need and British army logistics helping with distribution.

Up and down the country people in workshops with sewing equipment have been responding with direct supply to local hospitals.

 

The struggle to overcome the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Britain has created multiple crises requiring emergency intervention from over-stretched public services.

Fire services throughout the UK are calling for COVID-19 testing as it is estimated that around 3,000 fire-fighters are off work with symptoms or the need for self-isolation.

There are gruesome reports of a shortage of suitable body-bags for the rising number of victims.

 

 

The Pope’s Easter address in a deserted Vatican- Christian worship goes online and this may be first time all public worship has been suspended throughout the Church of England since 1215

In a deserted Vatican Pope Francis called for a ceasefire in global conflict and urged European nations to show solidarity in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

Unlike the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, he did not preach his sermon from the Vatican’s kitchen, but the social distancing needed to protect people from infection left cathedrals and places usually packed with congregations eerily empty.

 

US death toll breaks through 20,000 barrier- now 22,020

The Washington Post, which publishes with the moniker ‘democracy dies in darkness’ attempted to put a perspective on the grim news of COVID-19 deaths reaching more than 20,000.

While the US had the most confirmed deaths in the world- a much-smaller Italy has still lost more people per capita.

Roughly 31 of every 100,000 people there have been killed by the virus.

If the death rate in the U.S. were to match that in Italy, more than 100,000 Americans would die.

However, as in the UK, experts warn that the published figures are more than likely to be ‘an underestimation.’

British front pages mostly report PM’s thank you to NHS angels who saved his life

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recorded a heart-felt tribute to the doctors and nurses who saved his life at St Thomas’ hospital where he was in intensive care for four days.

He went on to praise two nurses in particular – Jenny and Luis – who he said watched over him all night while he was in intensive care.

He is now recuperating in the PM’s countryside residence of Chequers.

Mr Johnson said:

I want to thank the many nurses, men and women, whose care has been so astonishing.
I am going to forget some names, so forgive me, but I want to thank Po Ling and Shannon and Emily and Angel and Connie and Becky and Rachael and Nicky and Ann.
And I hope they won’t mind if I mention in particular two nurses who stood by my bedside for 48 hours when things could have gone either way.
They are Jenny from New Zealand – Invercargill on the South Island to be exact – and Luis from Portugal, near Porto.
And the reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.

Inevitably news organisations would later fully identify the two nurses who stood by his bedside giving him vital oxygen over 48 hours as 35 year old Jenny McGee and 29 year old Luis Pitarma.

 

And in a world turned upside down and changed beyond belief- the bizarre, the sublime, and the ridiculous

In Britain emergency powers to ensure social distancing are being achieved largely by persuasion and police officer cajoling by intervention.

Fines are being issued- imprisonment very much the last resort.

In India miscreants have been ordered to write five hundred lines rather like naughty school-children kept behind for detention.

A Brazilian fashion artist has turned recyclable bottles, cans and boxes taken from rubbish items not collected for over 20 days into a face-mask.

The UK might be reporting the highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths in Europe, but migrants still want to risk their lives crossing The Channel in flimsy rubber dinghies and rafts.

Home living and working means there is a need to stock up in long-life provisions. Heinz is meeting the demand with the first ever online shop for canned groceries.

Albert Camus’ novel La Paste is an apparent reality on the streets of Bangkok where rats have taken over the emptied streets as humans retreat indoors at night to fight the virus.

TikTok is the new Twitter and Instagram and it has made a star of a British grandad persuaded to dance digitally and now admired by 1.5 million followers.

When the history of the pandemic of 2020 is written, one wonders what kind of footnote will be given to US President Donald Trump’s apparent obsession with ‘fake news.’

His country may be facing a crisis not experienced since 9/11, but the unrelenting White House Tweeter still finds time to give vent to his splenetic campaign against the New York Times and journalists who ask questions they think he would rather not answer.

 

 

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