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News, Technology

Lockdown: In Desperate Times Our Nation Bonds

Kenton Reynolds

Kenton Reynolds, Writer
@uxconnections

The altruistic spirit of the nation has brought a candle of kindness and good to dark times

When Boris Johnson told the nation that we would be in lockdown on 23rd March, the nation plunged into panic. The measures put in place were drastic – more so than ever seen in recent memory – and the timescale seemingly indefinite. A surge in panic buying led to 42 million extra shopping trips in just four days, which left shelves bare. Soon after, on the 18th March, the government closed schools too. Such extremes seem terrifying at first, with parents homeschooling their children, trips out of the house being limited and businesses small and large at threat. 

But there is hope. The brightest diamonds can be found in the darkest caves, and in these worrying times glimmers of hope have shown themselves. Those struggling with entertaining their kids all day can make use of Disney+ who are offering a free trial in the UK. All Disney films and series – including Star Wars and Marvel – are available free for a whole week.

This isn’t the only form of online entertainment for kids, Audible have made 100s of children’s books free to listen to. The offer provides all sorts of titles from classics like Huxley’s Brave New World and Kafka’s Metamorphosis to more modern audiobooks like Lee Bacon’s Interview with a Robot. Though the promotion is aimed at children, people of all ages can make use of Audible – I know I will be.

There are more than just offers for entertainment, too. Business software is being made available to reduce vital costs with firms that will struggle with reduced demand. Microsoft Office is available free for 6 months on trial alongside Microsoft Teams after licenses were made available in response to COVID-19. For those who don’t use Microsoft, Google Cloud is free until July 1st for those affected by coronavirus to make it easier to work from home. Similarly, Zoom are offering free features to allow video calls from home.

We aren’t the only ones needing help in these difficult times – the government do too. Businesses are aiding the UK government by offering to build ventilators in order to prevent a shortage. The government needs help from businesses with specialty in design/specification, rapid prototyping and many other areas (the full list can be found on their website). Many businesses are already helping, most famously F1 teams – who are rivals on the track – are teaming up to use their high-tech equipment and leading rapid prototyping to good use. This is not the only way to help either, with many other ways to help available on the website too. 

If you aren’t part of a business with these capabilities, you can still help. Children across the country have already been doing their bit by creating rainbow drawings to put up in the windows to show their thanks and support for key workers. You can help too, the government recommends helping with food shopping, collecting medication, staying in touch with isolated individuals and encouraging both mental and physical activity.

In truth, simply obeying the rules is helping immensely. Our nation has come together to help one another in this time of crisis, and we should be proud of not only the key workers, government and helpers but the spirit of the country in which we live. Working together, the nation will get through this pandemic. Most importantly remember to stay home and stay safe.

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