I was incredibly irritated when the prime minister finally announced that masks would be compulsory in shops here in England. Not because I don’t think we should all be wearing them, but because it was long overdue.
I was frustrated by the angry “no mask” brigade. They seemed to have no regard at all for helping to protect their fellow citizens from a potentially lethal disease. Apparently their “freedom” trumped all else.
I have been wearing a mask in supermarkets and other shops here in the UK since my return from Singapore on 24 May. I came home armed with a box of 50 because they were so much more plentiful – and cheaper – over there.
Back in mid-February, I made a last-minute decision to go to Singapore to visit an old university friend. So it was pure coincidence that I found myself in the safest part of the world, where they knew what to do and acted with great speed to aggressively suppress the lethal virus.
By contrast, Europe and the US ignored and downplayed the threat – and they unsurprisingly became the epicentre of the pandemic from early March. I was in no rush to return to the unfolding disaster in the UK. Ignoring the Foreign Secretary’s call for Brits to return home, I kept rescheduling my BA return flight to London, originally booked for 8 March.
Melissa Jacobs is a freelance journalist with a background in biological sciences. She worked for the UK diplomatic and civil service before retraining in multimedia journalism.