The story of lockdown in Wales, one of the most significant events in recent Welsh history. The Covid-19 epidemic brought with it tragedy for some, and life-changing circumstances for very many people. The human cost will be counted for years and Lockdown Wales records some of the personal hardships and difficulties suffered by Welsh people. It also explores how people responded to their situation in such a positive way, and how the Welsh government managed the crisis.
The epidemic affected so many aspects of the way we live and are governed, and Will Hayward investigates the long list of topics and flashpoints in the lockdown: PPE and other pressures on the NHS, nightingale hospitals, social distancing, ‘stay local’, school closures, furloughing and the economy, testing, the effect on BAME communities, quarantine and isolation, domestic violence, reconnection with the natural world, the arrival of Zoom and online culture and many other subjects. He also looks at how the epidemic was reported, the strategies of the Welsh government, and the increasingly strained relations between Westminster and the devolved administrations.
Lockdown shone a bright light on Wales and the UK as places to live before the pandemic: ten years of austerity, a cash-strapped NHS, a UK riven by the Brexit debate, growing momentum for devolution or independence. The result – in the lack of pandemic planning, the myth of being ‘all in it together’, rising employment as companies relocated to Europe, etc – means that many believe that the recent past is a normal to which we must not return, and Hayward explores the possibilities for the future.