“I’m fed up of it all,” says Llanelli resident Elizabeth Lloyd after being asked about the prospect of an extended local lockdown.
It’s a sentiment, that’s echoed throughout the country as much of Wales’ population is now under some form of local lockdown.
And with more coming all the time many people are feeling that while the rules might be necessary, the reason people aren’t following them is simply because they are tired of adhering to them.
This week South Wales Police announced it had been called out around 40 times a day to deal with potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations.
Since new local lockdown measures were introduced, officers said they’d attended illegal house parties, wedding parties and handed out dispersal orders to gatherings in public places.
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This week it was also reported that students from Manchester had been organising Covid-positive parties where entry was only given to those who had tested positive for the virus. In Wales, students at Cardiff University have also been accused of hosting gatherings and house parties.
And while some may argue that the rules of lockdown are confusing, others are simply suggesting lockdown fatigue is setting in and they’re just choosing to no longer follow them.
Speaking about lockdown fatigue, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We’ve got to be alert to it, there is no doubt that people who are being asked again to take measures in their lives and restrict their freedoms that that is a bigger ask than it was earlier this year.
“Nevertheless, the bigger picture is that most people want to do the right thing.”
The First Minister said that speaking with Gwent Police, they estimated that 95% of people were complying with the rules and not crossing borders except for essential journeys.
“While there is fatigue and we’ve got to be aware of it, I still think that the big picture is that most people want to know what the right thing is to do and then to make a contribution.”
But coronavirus figures are continuing to rise across Wales, with the latest stats for Friday, October 9, revealing 766 new cases and two more deaths, taking the overall infection rate in Wales to more than 100 cases per 100,000 for the first time, with their being 102.9 cases per 100,000 people based on a seven-day rolling average, although more tests are now being carried out than at the height of the pandemic in the spring.
Eighteen of the 22 local authority areas in Wales saw cases per 100,000 rolling averages rise, with Merthyr Tydfil highest with 213.8, although this was down on the previous day. The only other areas to see falls were Rhondda Cynon Taf, Carmarthenshire, and Ceredigion.
Llanelli resident Sam Hodgetts, 32, said she thought the fatigue was down to the mental toll lockdown was having on people.
“I think they’ve underestimated what it’s doing to people mentally. People are fed up but they are also really struggling. It’s been a long time and some people know the rules but aren’t following them because it’s affecting their mental health,” she said.
Retired doctor, 78-year-old Roger Thomas, said that while he understood the importance of the lockdown, he could see why younger generations wouldn’t want to follow the rules.
“I really feel for young people, I don’t blame them for wanting to go out and carry on with their lives, it’s been going on for so long that I think young people should be allowed to meet up and go out and carry on with their lives and more vulnerable people should shield.”
A number of Welsh residents have also said that people are tired of following the rules after schools and pubs have opened up, as they seem contradictory.
One mum of two who wished to remain nameless said: “You can’t blame people for not listening because what is the point of sticking in one area when you have kids sitting in a classroom surrounded by 30 other kids not wearing a ‘muzzle.'”
“People aren’t going to listen and universities are better off hosting events so students don’t have house parties, because they are bored of lockdown – I would have done it at their age.”
But some don’t agree and believe there are no excuses for lockdown fatigue and not following rules.
For Llanelli resident Elizabeth Lloyd, lockdown has been a lonely five months: “I’m fed up with it all. I’ve been shielding for the past five months and haven’t seen my family. I wish people would stick to the rules because we’re all fed up but it’s just got to be done hasn’t it.”
“The thing is, I know we’re fed up, but the sooner we do it, the sooner we’re out of it,” she added.
Jayden Cain, 20, who is studying in Cardiff also said that a lack of policing was enabling lockdown fatigue: “There’s not really any policing going on – there’s nobody there saying ‘put your mask on.”
But Cardiff resident John Griffiths, 76, said as far as he was concerned, there was no excuse.
“I think it’s increasing because people aren’t following the rules, and they’re not following the rules because they don’t give a damn about what is going on.”
Speaking about his wife Doreen, 71 he added: “She’s inside 24/7 at the moment, it’s unfair, there’s got to be a moment when people have to speak and do things for themselves.”
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk