Author Archives: omegakam

Staff nurse: Everyone is worried

In order to protect those who are at a greater risk of developing complications from coronavirus, the NHS has published a shielded patients list identifying vulnerable people who need to remain at home.

According to the risk criteria, people who are at high risk of developing complications from coronavirus include:

  1. People who have had an organ transplant who remain on long term immune suppression therapy.
  2. People with specific cancers, such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma, people who are undergoing active chemotherapy and those with other targeted cancer treatments.
  3. People who are pregnant with significant congenital heart disease.

I spoke to Farai, a staff nurse at a care home in West London, who finished chemotherapy last year.

As an individual who is in the high risk category, do you feel that your workplace is maintaining the adequate measures to keep you safe? 

Farai said: “Not entirely; the masks are there and when you’re just dealing with normal patients, a mask is acceptable, but when you are dealing with residents who are positive, you have to have the full gear, which we don’t have access to.”

Some personal protective equipment (PPE) includes gloves, aprons, long sleeved gowns, surgical masks, and eye goggles. [Photo by CDC from Pexels].

How has coronvirus affcted your workplace in terms of staff shortages?

“Quite a lot of staff have gone off sick, and they were given letters to remain at home so there is a shortage. As a result we have had to rely more on agency staff, but the usual standard of work is not being maintained, which isn’t fair to the residents or colleagues – it’s a lot of pressure for the colleagues who are still at work.

“When corona started there was no PPE in place and our manager created an acute unit where residents who showed symptoms would be placed. After a few days residents would return back to their rooms, regardless of whether they had recovered or not.  The unit was not sanitised, which allowed the virus to spread, and we lost a number of residents.”

Are you worried about working and being an at-risk individual?

“Although the virus puts me at a greater risk, there are precautions in place for example washing your hands, and using PPE as per protocol. Everyone is worried and the worry will always be there, as we’re fighting a pandemic.” 

While most high risk individuals are receiving letters from their GP, those at moderate risk are not, but are still advised to ‘stay home at all times’; this includes people aged 70 or over, people who are pregnant, and individuals with heart disease. For further information on whether you are at higher risk of coronavirus, click here

Featured Image by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Retail therapy on lock

With the lockdown banning people from leaving their house (unless absolutely necessary), less money is being spent on things like travel and impulsive buying, but one spending habit that consumers have been able to maintain is that of online clothes shopping.

Many businesses and establishments have had to close, meaning limited access to restaurants, shops and education establishments.  Here are a few places that are still running online:


Next’s online presence has wavered since the start of lockdown, but the retailer has re-opened its online store. ‘The retailer, which typically makes more than half of its sales online, was forced to suspend its online operations on 26 March’, the BBC reports. Their clearance stock is likely to have a greater range of products so it’s worth keeping an eye on.


Throughout the lockdown, retailer ASOS has continued to make their fashion accessible to consumers. Catering to both male and female buyers, ASOS offers styles in a range of sizes, which makes this online store a good alternative to physical retail outlets. Despite not having a childrenswear range, the website sells over 850 brands, and with consumers hoping for quarantine-free summer, it may be worthwhile to check out their summer stock.

Photo by Negative Space from Pexels


Despite not being known for its fashion, Amazon houses a range of clothing brands, with popular brands such as Nike and Adidas also being available. With more free time to take on hobbies like baking, the online market store also offers a range of electronics and kitchen appliances. Aside from clothing and electronics, Amazon is also a great place to source home essentials such as washing up liquid, detergent and shower gel.


If you’re not an online shopper, supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda all have respective clothing brands that cater to men, women and children. Buying clothing whilst in lockdown may seem unconventional, but if you are carrying out an essential shop this time can also be used to pick up any essential clothing items such as underwear and socks, if these items are absolutely necessary.

(Image source: by Burst from Pexels)

Free school meals: where did they start and what is being done for those reliant on them?

With the majority of UK schools closed, pupils and teachers are adjusting to working from home, but what does this mean for children who are dependent on the education system for hot meals? 

According to, ‘free school meals are a crucial entitlement for families living in poverty’, and around 1.3 million children in the UK receive free school meals. Children who are eligible for free school meals include those whose parents are on income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, and support under Part VI of the immigration and Asylum Act 1999. 

Free school meals were first introduced to the UK in 1906 under the Education (Provision of Meals Act). In the 1980’s, the then government terminated the right to free meals in order to reduce the cost of school meals provided by local authorities. By 2004 school dinners had become a topic of debate which prompted Jamie Oliver to initiate a campaign into the improvement of school meals, which at the time largely consisted of deep fried food, such as chips and pizza. As of September 2014, children in the UK from reception to year 2 have been entitled to free hot meals, costing the government £2.30 per child. 

A Brief History of School Meals

In recent years, there has been a demand for healthier, more nutritionally balanced food in school meals from parents, school cooks and celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver. According to, successive governments have responded by working with schools to ensure that meals contain more healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables, and less fat, salt, and sugar; but with most schools now being shut, and children no longer having access to hot school meals, the Government has issued guidance on how disadvantaged children can still receive meals despite not being in school. 

The Government’s free school meal alternative will see eligible children being given £15 vouchers, the equivalent to £3 a day, (70p above the £2.30 the government pays), which can be redeemed in major supermarkets; however not all parents are satisfied with the new scheme, as some children were provided with lunch equating to ‘rations’. One mother in East London was left when her child was provided with ‘a loaf of bread, tinned tuna and a packet of crackers as their lunch’ the Sun reports.

[Featured image by Sydney Troxell from Pexels]

No covid for under 19s?

Despite growing concerns over the severity of the coronavirus, many young people are failing to heed health warnings. 

The U.K saw its first reported fatality after a woman in her 70s died from the disease in early March, and with the second confirmed death being a man in his 80s the message seemed to be clear: coronavirus is only affecting the old, and young people are immune. Despite elder people and those with pre-existing health issues being more vulnerable to the virus, young and more healthy individuals are still advised to fellow health regulations, and this includes staying indoors too.  

The World Health Organisation has busted the immunity myth stating, ‘people of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus’. WHO also advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, and that includes, social distancing and washing hands with soap and water for no less than 20 seconds. 

Source: World Health Organisation

According to the BBC, ‘current estimates from Imperial College London are that the death rate is almost 10 times higher than average for those over 80, and much lower for those under 40’. With these figures, it’s natural to assume that young people are therefore more safe from contagion, but that is not the case. Chloe Middleton, a 21 year old passed away from the illness, despite having ‘no underlying health conditions’ the BBC reports.

The rising number of confirmed deaths accompanied by the Prime Ministers televised crackdown on social distancing guidelines, is evidence that the coronavirus is not a trivial illness, therefore in order to stop the disease from spreading, people, including the young, must remain home.

So how can young people stay safe? Firstly through social distancing, as the Prime Minister advised, ‘If your friends ask you to meet, you should say ‘no’’. This has been the hardest pill to swallow over the last week as the UK saw its first bout of sun. With outside contact being limited to essential food shopping, daily exercise and work if absolutely necessary, boredom is inevitable; here are a few ways to stay entertained whilst staying safe in lock down.

Information sourced from London Theatre, image created by Omega

[Featured image by cottonbro from Pexels]

Political rap: a new genre or an excuse to attack politicians?

‘Rest in Peace Jack Merritt, you’re my brother in arms’, Merritt, a rehabilitation officer who lost his life following the London Bridge Attack in November, was one of a few names given tribute at the Brit Awards this year.

Rap, took centre stage at the music awards where British rapper Dave, used his performance to call out Prime Minister Boris Johnson, branding him a ‘real racist’, highlighted the disparity between Kate and Meghan’s representation in the British media and honoured Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, the two victims of the London Bridge terror attacks. 

“In the case of the Prime Minister, he is not a racist at all”

A culture that has birthed popular genres such as hip-hop and grime and known infamously for its misuse of drugs, and degrading of women is now at the heart of spreading a political message. Whilst the British rapper’s performance has been commended for bringing attention to the reality that Grenfell victims are still out of accommodation, despite losing their homes to a fire in 2017, and has called attention to the neglect of the Windrush generation, Home Secretary Priti Patel criticised Dave’s performance, stating in an interview with Sky News: 

“I don’t know what those comments are based on. It’s wrong to make judgements about individuals when you don’t know a particular individual as in the case of the Prime Minister. He is not a racist at all and I just think those comments are highly inappropriate.”

Despite Dave delivering a powerful performance, it was Stormzy’s domination of the same stage in 2018 that may have set a precedent for the former’s performance, calling out the former Prime Minister, Stormzy said: “Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell” and unapologetically called out the Daily Mail. Both rapper’s performances were praised for drawing attention to social issues, but do musical artists have a right to be political? 

In a society where we have the liberty of freedom of speech, it could be argued that people and musicians alike are free to express their views; and despite the negative connotations often associated with rap music, political speech in music is not a contemporary movement. American hip-hop group NWA’s song, ‘F*** tha Police’ protested against racial profiling and police brutality, in 1988.

Whilst Dave’s performance may have ruffled some political feathers, his acknowledgement of social issues through music, may have paved the way for a new genre of rap.

[Photo by Thibault Dandré from Pexels]