Post Covid-19 Lockdown Blues

I am trying to buy a football jersey for my nephew, whose birthday it is this weekend. Trying to find which jersey has been a challenge: he is very particular – even at 10 years old.

“Abang sokong Manchester United tapi Abang tak nak sebab ada gambar syaitan.”
“Abang suka De Bruyne dan Salah tapi eeee pasukan diorang tu musuh.”

And so on.. and so forth.

This has somewhat delayed the purchasing process, because I want to get him something he’ll wear, and there is a risk what I finally bought for him won’t make it in time for his football themed birthday bash this weekend. (Apparently the theme is football jerseys – so finally, a theme party I can definitely get with!). Why? Because Maklong can’t just nip over to the shops and get him what he wants (we’ve decided on Japan), as she’s still struggling with post-Covid lockdown issues.

Am I paranoid? Maybe a little bit. Our Research Director and I decided we’d start working from home even before the MCO began. And even when things re-opened on 4 May, we were hesitant to go straight back to work, only requiring office days to begin after Hari Raya, and at a much reduced rate than before.

I’ve been relatively braver about branching out – going to malls, sometimes even eating out, although grocery shopping still freaks me out: people don’t seem to get the concept of spacing themselves out, dammit. Going running, I don’t mind so much, provided it’s alone and not in packed-to-the-brim parks (so mostly, running on the roads / pavements, where if Covid-19 won’t get me, air pollution will).

But I have not yet gone for a haircut, and even if feeling unwell, I have managed symptoms at home rather than rushing out to the clinic; although this was always the case even before Covid-19 thanks to years of the NHS GP appointment system. Neither have I gotten into a taxi, a Grab car, a bus or a train.

I have also been super tentative about going home to my parents. My dad, especially, has multiple illnesses that puts him at high risk, and my mom is already of the age where we all need to be a bit more careful. I have, though, been back a few times – but under strict decontamination rules: upon arrival, straight to the shower and clothes washed immediately. And even when socialising with my parents, I keep a distance.

I suppose, at the back of my mind, I actually believe that restrictions have been relaxed not because the virus is gone, but to avoid the economy from tanking in a big way. While subtle, reminders from KKM telling us to continue social distancing and being vigilant means it’s not all over yet.

But when I look around, I see other people a lot more lax and are largely returning to business as usual; and infection rates are still under control. Friends have started having family gatherings, small parties and soon, cinemas, large(r) gatherings and big(ger) events will be back in full swing.

Our infection rates are declining – single digits for a few days in a row now – suggesting that we have a handle on things. I want to have faith in this. But I am also aware that New South Wales have gone back into lockdown as have Leicester, as cases rise there post re-opening. Australia, to me, is particularly worrying because they thought they had a handle on things for a while; the UK, not so much – they’ve been handling this as badly as one can ever get.

And so I hesitate, shaggy hair and all, because I really don’t know what’s safe and what’s not anymore. No one does, despite whatever they say.

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