Andy Le Seelleur believes some Islanders have been faced with the moral dilemma of going against Covid restrictions in order to interact with an isolated family member or partner, whose mental health may be suffering as a result of loneliness.
Under current government guidance, Islanders are advised to avoid mixing indoors with other households unless it is for essential reasons like caring for a vulnerable relative.
Mr Le Seelleur has called on the government to rethink its approach to household mixing and allow a support bubble for the isolated or lonely.
‘Currently we can go into the household of someone who is physically vulnerable and needs assistance but what about those who are mentally vulnerable?
‘If someone lives alone and has not been mixing with other people then I don’t see why they cannot come into one household. Surely the risks associated with transmission will be low and could prevent something catastrophic from happening, should their wellbeing not improve.’
Mr Le Seelleur said many people have considered ignoring Covid advice to support a lonely family member or partner.
‘People do not want to break the rules but there needs to be some recognition for wellbeing during and after this pandemic. I don’t see the rationale behind a complete ban on mixing when there are many factors to consider, like the wellbeing of the lonely.’
Mr Le Seelleur said Covid has only heightened the growing issue of loneliness – something he believes is becoming more prevalent in younger age groups.
‘It’s not just the elderly who are lonely, many middle age people are now suffering too. If someone feels isolated, it impacts their mental health and also their physical health, as they often don’t want to go out.’
Under the government’s current Covid strategy, household mixing is not expected to be re-introduced until at least March.
‘There needs to be some consideration for the lonely. As we transition out of the pandemic, one of the long-term effects of Covid will be the damage to people’s mental health. There needs to be dialogue from the government to address this.’