Around 25% of Manchester’s population was born overseas, and Salford, which has seen a population increase of at least 138% since 2001, is a significant part of that.

Panashe Malahleka, originally from Zimbabwe, who has lived in Salford for over 4 years, says that Covid-19 has affected him greatly and that “it’s essentially ruined my Christmas”.

Credit: Panashe Malahleka

Mr. Malahleka said: “ I was planning on finally going home for Christmas after Zimbabwe had finally been removed from the red list.

I had luckily managed to arrange more time off from work over Christmas than they’d usually allow. However, after having booked my flight, done shopping for people back home, the country was put onto the red list.

This, as a precautionary move, seemed fairly reasonable and so I accepted the decision, cancelled my flights and accepted that I was going to be spending another Christmas alone.

Irritatingly for Panashe and his family though, Zimbabwe, as well as South Africa and Nigeria, was then taken off the red list on the 14th of December as the listing was no longer needed as the Omicron variant was now already deemed a dominant variant in the UK.

It just felt like a massive kick in the teeth as the decision was made only 3 weeks after cancelling my flights etc.

“It just shows a lack of consideration people like me in the UK.”



Credit: Sander Segers

Of course, Covid-19 will be affecting everyone this Christmas, with the government announcing the reintroduction of face of coverings in the most public indoor venues such as cinemas and theatres, as well as NHS Covid Passes becoming mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather too.

Furthermore, they “strongly encourage” people to take tests before visiting vulnerable people as well as before Christmas parties and nativities.

Although this doesn’t feel like too huge a change, has the heightened talk of the pandemic and inbound restrictions prohibited people’s feeling of ‘festivity’?

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