By Tatiana Zaituni
At the end of last month, the government announced stricter lockdown measures in many parts of the north, including West Yorkshire and Kirklees.
The sudden news came just hours before the clock struck midnight to Eid Al-Adha 2020; an Islamic holiday celebrated globally.
The lockdown measures restricted people from different households meeting indoors.
Eid Al-Adha marks the twelfth and final month the Islamic calendar, a pivotal time in the religion; a celebratory event that lasts from July 31st until August 3 2020.
However, the unforeseen announcement caused much disarray for the Muslim community, some of whom believed that the late announcement of the lockdown was intentional.
A local resident, Philippa Dunne, wrote on Twitter: “Poor work from the gov once again. Enforcing a local lockdown day before Eid, Bradford has been on the lockdown watch list for weeks.
“Why do it at 10 pm the night before a religious holiday rather than weeks ago?”
Another local resident, James Well, stated on the app: “Tomorrow (31st of August) is Eid.
“They’ve essentially told Bradford and other towns with large minority Muslim populations that they can’t meet up for Eid with 3 hours notice.
“Imagine announcing lockdown at 8 pm on Christmas Eve. And them blaming people for breaking lockdown.”
Some believed the government intended to place the lockdown measures hours priors the religious celebration.
“Government denies new measures are targeted at Eid celebrations. So why is Leeds not in lockdown yesterday’s confirmed cases were 140% higher than Kirklees. Please explain @MattHancock @JasonMcCartney’’ said one tweet.
There had been rumblings about potential local lockdowns in many areas weeks in advance of the official rules being put into place.
This has led to a lot of local residents asking questions as to why they were not given a more advanced warning.
Even Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, expressed their dismay of the government announcement.
He said: “The timing of it, the confusion it has caused and the logic behind it all remains unclear.
“It feels as though Kirklees has been singled without any reasonable or solid evidence base, and many have told me we are being treated totally unfairly.’’
However, Cllr Pandor remained adamant that Kirklees was equipped to deal with any increased lockdown measures.
He said: “As soon as the Government started to release local data on infections, we took quick and decisive action to get rates down.
“In fact, over the past week, we’ve seen a significant fall in the rate of infection.
“It means Kirklees is in a very different position to many of the other authorities named last night and it’s a credit to our incredible residents.
“If this week’s reduction continues, I’m confident we can get our freedoms back quickly.”
The truth is, we may never fully know why such an important announcement was made at such a late hour, especially before a holiday that is so important for many both in the region and across the country.
People will likely debate the fairness of this issue in the days and weeks to come, and as an overall indictment of the governments handling of this crisis.