Leeds charity chiefs warn lifting of Covid restrictions will be a 'worrying' time for some

Charity chiefs who support some of the city’s most vulnerable residents have said the lifting of all Covid restrictions will be a “worrying” time for many.

By Joanna Wardill
Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 4:45 am

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was last night expected to announce his ‘living with Covid’ plans, which include scrapping the legal requirement to self-isolate in England.

But for some corners of society, the news has been met with increase anxiety.

Brenda Taylor, 64, of Yeadon, founder of Dream CIO which works to combat social isolation among people with a wide range of disabilities in Leeds, said with no restrictions the world will become “a lot scarier”.

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She said: “I think it will probably make people feel more isolated because of the risks that they perceive there to be.”

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She said some of the people she supports have only just felt comfortable enough to meet for a meal out.

“That’s only in the last couple of months.

“I think we will still be wearing masks for quite a long time because we don’t feel confident.”

Brenda said her daughter and husband both have health conditions which have left them with low immune systems so she personally has a “real concern” about the restrictions being lifted.

“It’s worrying and stressful,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense because Covid is still out there and the numbers are still high.

“They seem to be just kind of treating it as though it’s gone away and it hasn’t.”

Iain Anderson, CEO of Age UK Leeds, said for the elderly population, while some - like many, generally - will have been frustrated by the restrictions and will welcome a return to normality, the majority, he said, “would be more anxious than feeling confident”.

He said: “Even those restrictions lifted to date, have created that anxiety, around mask wearing and social distancing. A lot of the older population depend on public transport so there’s a sense of vulnerability in that context which has been around since those restrictions were lifted.”

He added: “We know people who have barely left home for the best part of two years. So for them, the prospect of coming back out into a world, mixing again with the population in a way that was the normal two years ago - that’s quite a big step for them with a significant amount of anxiety. They are the minority but still not an insignificant number of people in that situation.

“From our point of view, our message is to be mindful of older people and wherever possible, be cautious around them because of potential vulnerabilities that they might be experiencing. The vast majority are vaccinated and boosted but it doesn’t stop you from falling ill.”

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