On March 23 last year, households were plunged into the first nationwide lockdown as Boris Johnson warned of “the devastating impact of this invisible killer”. One year on from the prime minister’s address, the country is now coming out of its third national lockdown.
March 2020 the UK is put under a nationwide lockdown
On March 29, it is revealed that Amged El-Hawrani, a 55-year-old consultant, has become the first front line NHS hospital worker to die after testing positive for coronavirus.
April 2020 Boris Johnson is admitted to hospital for tests on April 5. The following day, he is taken to intensive care, where he remains for three nights.
He is discharged on April 12
On April 22, Matt Hancock tells MPs that ‘we are at the peak’ of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. A total of 900 people with coronavirus died in hospitals across England on April 9, which is the highest daily death count so far.
Around 2,000 care home deaths are recorded in the week ending April 17 and the number of deaths from all causes in care homes is almost three times the number recorded three weeks ago.
On May 5, the UK death toll, which has hit 29,427, becomes the highest in Europe and the second highest in the world. On May 10, the government unveils its ‘road map’ out of lockdown.
Boris Johnson explains that lockdown restrictions will be eased in stages and sets out a provisional timetable. He says schools could open from June 1 and the hospitality sector could begin to open up again from July. The government also changes its ‘stay home’ message to ‘stay alert’.
On May 28, the government launches NHS Test and Trace. On June 1, restrictions are lifted in England which allow people to meet with up to six others from separate households in outdoor places.
June 8 sees rules that require travellers arriving into the UK from abroad to quarantine for 14 days come into force. On June 18, the government says it is abandoning its contact tracing app, which was expected to launch last month, and that Apple and Google will take over the design instead.
Travel corridors are introduced on July 2020, hospitality starts up again and face covering rules come into force On July 30, a late night announcement from Matt Hancock on Twitter reveals that parts of the North are to come under local lockdown restrictions. The Health Secretary says that people will be banned from mixing with other households indoors due to a spike in cases in areas including Greater Manchester.
In September case number climb and the ‘rule of six’ comes in. Boris Johnson says the UK is ”now seeing a second wave” of infections as around 3,000 new cases are recorded each day.
On September 21, the UK coronavirus alert level is upgraded to level 4, meaning transmission is “high or rising exponentially”.
The next day, curbs on household mixing and hospitality in parts of Lancashire, Merseyside, the Midlands and West Yorkshire come into force. By now, around one in every five UK residents is living under some form of local measures.
At the end of October, ministers discuss a UK-wide set of rules to cover the festive period.
On October 31, the UK reaches a million Covid-19 cases, as a further 21,915 new cases are confirmed in a 24 hour period.
Boris Johnson announces that England will come under a second national lockdown lasting four weeks.
England’s second national lockdown begins on November 5 and the furlough scheme is extended again, this time until the end of March 2021. On November 9, reports emerge that a vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech offers 90 per cent protection and Boris Johnson tells a government briefing that it has “cleared a significant hurdle”, but warns it is “very, very early days”.
As lockdown comes to an end on December 2, the UK becomes the first country in the world to approve the use of a coronavirus vaccine. On December 14, Matt Hancock tells MPs that a new variant of coronavirus has been identified in Kent.
London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire move into Tier 3 and the latest R number predictions suggest it is now back above one again. On December 19, Boris Johnson announces new Tier 4 measures, that will come into effect in London and other parts of the south from the following day.
There have now been more than 2 million cases of the virus confirmed in the UK since the pandemic began.
Christmas plans are cancelled
January 2021 Oxford vaccine roll-out begins and a third national lockdown is announced
For the first 10 days of January, the daily number of new cases exceeds 50,000, with the highest number of positive test results – 68,053 – reported on January 8.
On January 4, the first doses of the Oxford vaccine are administered in the UK and Mr Johnson says a first vaccine dose will have been offered to everyone in the four top priority groups.
The lockdown effectively puts the whole country under Tier 4 restrictions, which the majority of the country is already living with. The Covid alert level is moved up again- from four to five.
On January 15, Boris Johnson announces that the UK will close all travel corridors from the following week in order to protect against new unidentified strains of the virus.
Anyone travelling to the country will need to provide a negative test on arrival.
On January 18, the number of patients in UK hospitals peak.
The prime minister announces that schools will not reopen after half term. He says he hopes to have schools back open again from March 8.
He also announces that travellers entering the UK from a ‘red list’ country will soon be required to isolate in government-approved hotels.
On February 2, the UK mourns the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised more than £32 million for the NHS By the middle of the month, Boris Johnson says the target of offering a first dose of the vaccine to everyone in the top four priority groups has been reached in England.
Mr Johnson sets out his ‘roadmap out of lockdown’on February 22, outlining plans to reopen the economy in stages on April 12, May 17 and then June 21 – at the earliest
On March 2021 Lockdown easing begins
Rishi Sunak delivers his budget, confirming an extension to the furlough scheme until the end of September 2021.. On March 18, Matt Hancock confirms that the UK will have a reduced vaccine supply throughout April – but the supply issues will not affect people getting their second dose, or the roadmap out of lockdown.
The government says further restrictions will be relaxed from March 29, as set out in the lockdown roadmap, permitting outdoor gatherings either under the rule of six or between two households.
This week, on the nightly news, it was reported that a minutes silence was observed for all the lives lost and families affected by Covid19.
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