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The Pressure Cooker of Restrictive Measures

Interestingly, JM stated earlier on today that yesterday was the first day without any new cases of coronavirus being reported on the island, yet the DGS said we had two.  So who do we believe?  However, news just in confirms that one case has been reported today.

With this, and the extended State of Emergency the general public is yet again under more restrictive measures.

Buying cigarettes is said to be becoming harder with the closure of more and more establishments, while those in supermarkets can only be activated by a member of staff as the machines pose a health risk in terms of cleanliness and a possible congregation area.

Continente are now only allowing one member per family to shop, as attested by the number of people left sitting in their cars this morning.

Other reports show that more and more people are out and about today and judging by the queues in Continente and Maxmat, everyone is trying to find something to do at home during the lockdown and the bad weather.

However, this does beg the question about what the authorities are trying to do to keep the population healthy during this time? It is all very well for politicians with their protected salaries, big houses, possible swimming pool, gym and garden to keep them amused, but what about the average Madeiran in a tiny cramped flat with little or no balcony? Psychological help is paramount, and a new line will ensure that those suffering anxiety during this time have someone to turn to. However, to keep a population healthy they need to move, even restrictively! Staying at home, eating junk food and watching TV serves no purpose. We also need to be exposed to germs to help keep our immune systems up to scratch.  Humans are social creatures, and even if we can’t talk or be close to someone, there is a feeling of inclusion while walking with other walkers – albiet two metres apart.

So why, instead of closing areas like Praia Formosa or moaning that the Port of Funchal is overrun with walkers, runners and cyclists, not create policed exercise routes? It wouldn’t be that difficult to design and they can be located in specific areas throughout the capital and the rest of the island. Policed in such a way, contact can be avoided, people can get out and stretch their legs and the nation has a chance of decompressing in a regulated orderly way.

Everyone understands the need to be vigilant and responsible. We are so not out of the woods that even a glimmer of hope can make one feel better. But people also need to be understood. We’re no longer used to living together as a family unit and there is only so much goodness a politician can rely on with regards to his constituents, especially when the give appears to be one-sided.  We need to be careful and protect our island and its citizens, but at the same time their needs must be addressed, and creating actively monitored and responsible safe spaces may be exactly what people need. Especially, as these can always be closed if the risk is considered too high.

If not, fear of unemployment, money, debt and domestic abuse could create subversive tactics, attribute to increased numbers of suicide and even civil unrest; as a society which is being kept locked in a pressure cooker of restriction has no outlet for release.

Let us not forget that Knee Jerk Actions result in Knee Jerk Reactions….

Psychological Help Line: 291 212 399 open 09:00 – 21:00

Samantha Gannon

info at madeira-weekly

Madeira Weekly