QU International students prepare to return home to nationwide lockdown

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By Michele Barletta

Quincy University students from the United Kingdom find themselves returning home this Christmas break, to a nationwide lockdown.

This comes after the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that they will be returning to a nationwide lockdown in response to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The nation went into lockdown beginning November 5 and will remain in place until December 2.

Under the lockdown, citizens must stay at home unless they are fulfilling ‘essential services,’ which includes things like food shopping and seeking medical care. A work-from-home order has been put in place, leaving office parks and buildings empty for the duration of the lockdown. International travel is discouraged, but not banned. This comes as good news to the students attending QU who wish to return home at the end of the semester.

Craig Chisholm, an international student from Chester, England, is set to fly home on November 24 and his travel plans have luckily been unaffected. Chisholm says he doesn’t want to experience a Christmas without his family.

“It’s not that I don’t want to stay in Quincy over the break, but I will do anything I can to spend Christmas with my family,” Chisholm said.

Joel Mcilroy is a student from Larne, Northern Ireland and although he too would like to return home for the festive season, he says he is more than happy to stay in the United States should the situation call for it.

” I know quite a few people in different areas who have opened up their homes for me and would be happy for me to stay with them,” Mcilroy said.

Mcilroy and Chisholm both mentioned how small business in their respective areas struggled and even folded during the initial lockdown that was introduced in March this year and for this reason are against the second lockdown now in place.

“There are many businesses at home that were on the brink of closing or closed after the first lockdown because they could not stay afloat financially,” Mcilroy said.

Chisholm says that by returning home to the UK, he won’t be able to go to the gym or eat at restaurants, something he has become accustomed to whilst in the United States.

Having experienced the pandemic in two different countries, Chisholm and Mcilroy were shocked to see how the United States was operating in comparison to the strict restrictions that they had to follow whilst in the United Kingdom.

“In my opinion the United States seems a lot less cautious than it was at home,” Chisholm said. “When I got here I was surprised to see how much things have not changed and seemed pretty normal.”

However, Mcilroy believes that keeping the country ‘open’ is the best way to go about it. Continue life as close to normal as possible but also trying to control the spread. People can’t afford to be locked indoors with nothing to do, nowhere to go and no income. It is a road to disaster.

“Continue life as close to normal as possible but also trying to control the spread, people can’t afford to be locked indoors with nothing to do, nowhere to go and no income,” Mcilroy said. “It is a road to disaster.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic adding to Northern Ireland’s already alarming suicide rate, Mcliroy believes that a lockdown can only make matters worse.

“It is important for people to be able to get out and see their family and friends in order to look after their mental health,” Mcilroy said.

“I am praying for a vaccine and for life to go back to normal as quickly as possible, but in the meantime I am doing my best to stay positive and make the most of the situation,” Mcilroy said.

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