The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, yesterday warned of a ‘serious spike’ in coronavirus infections in some areas of the UK if people do not follow social distancing guidance before lockdown restrictions are eased further in just over a week’s time on Saturday 4th July.
This day has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’- as pubs and bars will be throwing their doors open. Initially, it was thought people may be wary of heading off for a drink – but following this week’s events throughout the UK – it is now expected that these venues will be very busy despite the official guidelines and restrictions.
Chair of South Yorkshire Police Federation Steve Kent said reopening pubs on a Monday or midweek would have helped officers deal with what could be a ‘perfect storm of drunk and disorderly behaviour. He warned that Super Saturday will be like ‘a month of New Year’s eves’ with violence and drunken disorder. Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: ‘If the weather is as it is now when they reopen then we could be in for a real apocalyptic day.’ The Sun has headlined Super Saturday as ‘Barmegeddon’ whilst other papers have nicknamed the day ‘Independence Day’.
Boris has particularly warned ‘immortal and invincible’ young people who he says are taking risks by potentially spreading the disease to elderly people, and slammed beach-goers for ‘taking too many liberties’. Speaking during a visit to the Pizza Pilgrim restaurant in East London, Boris Johnson said: ‘If you look at what’s happening elsewhere in the world where people have been coming out of lockdown, I’m afraid what you’re also seeing is people taking too many liberties with the guidance, mingling too much, not observing social-distancing. So in some parts of the world – I won’t name them – you have got spikes, really serious spikes, in the instance of the disease so it is crucial that people understand that on July 4 we get this right, we do this in a balanced way.’
Official figures released yesterday suggested that the retreat of the coronavirus pandemic has stalled and the number of people infected in the UK may even have risen. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty stressed, ‘If we do not follow social distancing guidance then cases will rise again. Naturally people will want to enjoy the sun but we need to do so in a way that is safe for all.’
It’s not just Covid-19 apprehensions that are in the spotlight. Strong warnings have been issued about the increasing use of nitrous oxide, laughing gas or ‘hippy crack’. This is certainly a problem in Lytham St. Anne’s from the evidence of the many empty canisters littering the streets, beaches and open spaces. Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas when inhaled can make people feel euphoric and relaxed. The effects of the gas have seen it nicknamed ‘laughing gas’, but it also creates hallucinations, caused by the drug slowing down the brain – thus creating a psychoactive effect. Nitrous oxide is normally bought in pressurised canisters. It is then transferred to a container such as a balloon to be inhaled. There are legitimate uses for nitrous oxide, including numbing pain during medical procedures, use in catering aerosol cans and in engines. Nitrous oxide is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and is illegal to supply for its psychoactive effect. The drug awareness website Frank (www.talktofrank.com) warns potential users that it is very dangerous to inhale nitrous oxide directly from a canister, and doing it in an enclosed space is also very dangerous. Additionally, it can be hard to judge the amount to use safely. If a person takes too much nitrous oxide they risk falling unconscious and/or suffocating from the lack of oxygen. Also having used nitrous oxide people can end up fainting, having an accident or worse – people have died this way. Regular use also can stop the formation of white blood cells. A helpline is provided by Frank – 0300 1236600 – providing honest information about the dangers of drugs misuse, including help for parents worried about their children. Photographs in the Mail Online have shown the use of this gas during the recent heatwave.