Norwich battles Omicron in bid to save Christmas

How do Norwich folk plan to save Christmas?

How do Norwich folk plan to save Christmas? - Credit: Submits

With a new Covid variant stalking the UK and mandatory mask wearing back, city folk are suffering flashbacks of last year's lost Christmas.  

Families all over the county had to change or even cancel their festive plans with the globe in the grip of a deadly pandemic.  

But this year city folks are determined the party will go ahead! 

Student Harrison Elvin said: “It may be small but I have put a mask in all of my coat pockets so that I always have one with me.” 

Harrison Elvin isn't going to let anything ruin his Christmas and has put a mask in every coat pocket to keep himself safe. 

Harrison Elvin isn't going to let anything ruin his Christmas and has put a mask in every coat pocket to keep himself safe. - Credit: Harrison Elvin

While Emma Thorogood-Wilcox said that she is “hopeful that Christmas isn’t really at risk”. 

Emma is finding she doesn't have the energy to enjoy things that ordinarily she would love. 

Emma is finding she doesn't have the energy to enjoy things that ordinarily she would love. - Credit: Emma Thorogood-Wilcox

She added: “I am not sure if that is me being positive or just overly optimistic, of course we must all do our bit.” 

Alanna Baker who lives in the city centre is more hopeful than most that Christmas can be saved.  

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She said “This time last year my elderly Grandma had just been moved to a care home after catching Covid in hospital. 

“I don't get to see my family all that often and so family time at Christmas is super important." 

Alanna recalled feeling really low as she watched the prime minister’s announcement regarding Christmas last year - but thinks this year will be different thanks to the vaccine programme.  

“My mum cried on the phone and it felt horrible as there was no way I could get home within the restrictions," she said.  

“After a year of lock downs and cancelled plans it was an all-time low."  

Alanna Baker pictured with sister Phillipa is hoping to be able to spend Christmas with her family. 

Alanna Baker pictured with sister Phillipa is hoping to be able to spend Christmas with her family. - Credit: Alanna Baker

Thankfully my lovely housemate's family live locally and offered to have me over for Christmas Day so I didn't have to be on my own.  

"Sadly, my grandma passed away soon after the New Year and so I never got to give her a  Christmas present. I really hope that Christmas this year will be a bit more normal.”   

And other people in the city have said they are upping the amount of times they take tests with some even swabbing daily not Omicron has arrived.

Jack Stalley said: “Wearing a mask has been company-wide mandatory since the first lockdown was eased.  

Jack Stalley pictured with wife Petra and their pet tortoise

Jack Stalley pictured with wife Petra and their pet tortoise - Credit: Jack Stalley

“As a result, I've not really seen an issue wearing them wherever and I've been doing two tests a week.” 

Megs Austin added: “I do a tests regularly - I do not go to crowded places. 

“I will not go to clubs and bars where, bizarrely, masks aren’t mandatory.” 

Megs Austin and daughter Grace have will continue to keep on top of sanitising

Megs Austin and daughter Grace have will continue to keep on top of sanitising and staying out of crowded places in order to save their Christmas. - Credit: Megs Austin

Megs also never stopped wearing a mask even when it was no longer mandatory.  

She added: “I wash my hands regularly and always sanitise and my daughter does the same.” 

Jourdan Madge, from Costessey, believes people need to try harder.  

She said: “Many of my relatives are either high risk or work with high-risk people so it is absolutely vital I am careful, no matter what.

“Unfortunately, working with the public who seem to think it's all hunky dory has many risks - especially when some refuse to wear masks even if it’s mandatory.” 

Penny Woodcraft has also been clear: don't ditch the mask! 

Penny Woodcraft keeps on top of her lateral flow tests. 

Penny Woodcraft keeps on top of her lateral flow tests. - Credit: Penny Woodcraft

“I have to do lateral flows for work anyway, and I’ve been wearing a mask as much as is possible for me," she said.

Daniel Taylor added: “Even though I am medically exempt from wearing a mask I will be complying with all measures as if I were not.  

“I will be wearing a mask whenever in a public building and sometimes outside in busy areas.  

Daniel Taylor will wear his mask despite being medically exempt.

Daniel Taylor will wear his mask despite being medically exempt. - Credit: Daniel Taylor

“I will still continue to disinfect my hands whenever possible when entering and exiting public buildings.” 

Daniel said he will even be wearing his mask at home if there are more than three people present.  

What do we know about the new variant? 

In the last week a heavily mutated Covid variant has been identified and labelled as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization.  

This variant has been named Omicron. It has been found in various countries including the UK.  

Omicron has mutations that help it to spread faster. It is not yet clear if it is more transmissible than that of the Delta variant.  

Preliminary evidence suggests that there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron.  

Meaning that people who have previously had Covid-19 could become re-infected more easily.  

The World Health Organization suggests keeping at least one metre away from people, wearing a well-fitting mask, open windows to improve ventilation, keep hands clean, avoid going into crowded places and get vaccinated when you can.  

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