Covid One Year On: Timeline of events for the last 12 months

There was hope once the vaccine became available.

There was hope once the vaccine became available. - Credit: ARCHANT

Here are some of the key moments of the past 12 months after the UK was plunged into a national lockdown.

March: Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces the first UK lockdown will come into force on March 23. Public told they can only leave home for limited reasons, including food shopping, exercise once each day, medical needs and travelling for work, but to work from home, if possible. Shops selling non-essential goods close, gatherings of more than two people in public places are banned, weddings, but not funerals, are cancelled. New Nightingale Hospital, with the capacity to treat 4,000 patients, is prepared at the ExCeL Centre, in London. Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock test positive for Covid-19 on March 27, while England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty says he has symptoms and is self-isolating. There is much media speculation about the seating arrangements and lack of social distancing in the House of Commons.

April 5: Queen tells the nation "If we remain united and resolute in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, we will overcome it". Prime Minister is admitted to hospital. On April 6, Downing Street says Mr Johnson’s condition has worsened and he is moved to the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital, London. He is discharged on April 12. Covid-19 death rate passes 10,000. On April 30, Mr Johnson says the country is now “past the peak of this disease”.

May: Death toll from coronavirus rises to more than 32,000, passing Italy’s total and is now the highest in Europe. Announcement that lockdown is easing. Public told they can sunbathe in parks and leave the house to exercise more than once a day. Groups of six can meet up outside. A few days later, loss of taste and smell are added to the list of Covid-19 symptoms. NHS Test and Trace launches. Professor Jonathan Van-Tam says Britain is facing a “very dangerous moment”. 

June: Lockdown measures are eased further with schoolchildren in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in England returning to school.

July:  A list of 73 countries and territories where English tourists can visit without self-isolating on their return is published. People return to pubs and lockdown restrictions regarding weddings are eased. Face coverings become mandatory in shops with £100 fines for people flouting the rules. People who test positive for virus or display symptoms told to self-isolate for 10 days as Government warns of a “second wave.

August: Eat Out To Help Out scheme launched, with restaurants, pubs and cafes offering half-price meals to diners. 

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September: Warings of second peak following a “concerning” rise in the number of cases. Social gatherings of more than six people made illegal in England from September 14. BorisJohnson warns second wave of virus has arrived in UK. The R number is estimated to be between 1.1 and 1.4. Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance says urgent action is needed. New restrictions announced, including a 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants and people advised to work from home. On September 24, 6,634 new coronavirus cases are recorded, the highest single-day figure since the outbreak began.

October: Three-tier system of local alert levels announced. On October 31, Government announces second national lockdown. Non-essential shops and pubs and restaurants close. 

November: UK Government and devolved administrations agree on plans to allow families to reunite over the festive period by forming 'Christmas bubbles'.

December: Grandmother Margaret Keenan, aged 90, becomes the first patient in the world to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech jab as the NHS launches its biggest ever vaccine campaign. New strain of virus is identified. Tougher restrictions imposed in some area and many people moved into Tier 4. Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is approved for use in the UK.

January: Third national lockdown for England is announced on  January 4. On January 26, 2021, the death toll reaches 100,000. 

February: Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised more than £32 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday during the first national lockdown in April, dies after testing positive for Covid-19. Boris Johnson announces a road map out of lockdown, with a four-step plan to gradually ease England’s restrictions by June 27.