What are the key dates that have punctuated the coronavirus pandemic in the UK?
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Lockdown measures are set to change across England this weekend.
What are the key dates that have punctuated the coronavirus pandemic?
January 31 2020 – First case of coronavirus confirmed in the UK
Two members of the same family are the first confirmed positive cases of Covid-19 in England.
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said: “The patients are receiving specialist NHS care, and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.”
The two people had been staying at the Staycity apartment-hotel in York when they became unwell.
March 5 2020 – First death in the UK
A patient with underlying health conditions became the first person in the UK to die after testing positive for coronavirus.
The older patient died at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.
Prof Whitty, said he was “very sorry” to report the news and offered “sincere condolences” to the family, sentiments shared by Prime Minister Boris Johnson who added: “Our sympathies are very much with the victim and their family.”
March 16 2020 – The Prime Minister encourages social distancing
All people in the UK are told they should avoid pubs, clubs and theatres, stop all non-essential contact and travel, and work from home if they can.
At a Downing Street daily briefing, Mr Johnson set out the need for “drastic action” to tackle the “fast growth” of coronavirus across the UK and encouraged social distancing.
The measures were announced on the day the death toll of people with coronavirus in the UK reached 55.
March 23 2020 – The Prime Minister announces UK wide lockdown
Mr Johnson places the UK on lockdown, in a rare televised address from Downing Street.
He ordered people to only leave the house to shop for basic necessities “as infrequently as possible” and to perform one form of exercise a day.
He also said they could seek medical help, provide care to a vulnerable person or travel to work if “absolutely necessary”.
The announcement came several days after bars, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, nightclubs, theatres, gyms and leisure centres were told to shut their doors to customers.
As libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship were also forced to close Mr Johnson said: “You should not be meeting friends.
“If your friends ask you to meet, you should say ‘No’.
“You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.”
May 10 2020 – ‘Stay at home’ becomes ‘stay alert’ and PM sets out lockdown lifting plan
The Prime Minister announced some changes to the lockdown affecting England in a speech from Number 10.
People are told they can leave the house to exercise more than once a day and sunbathing and spending time in parks is allowed too.
He announces the phased reopening of shops and schools and subject to conditions and scientific advice “at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places” could be reopened with social distancing measures in place by July at the earliest, he added.
The Government graphics also changed from “Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives” to “Stay alert, control the virus, save lives”.
July 4 2020 – Most wide-ranging changes come into force in England
On June 23 Mr Johnson announced a raft of changes to lockdown measures in England which will come in to force this Saturday, July 4.
He said the pandemic was “far from over”, but vowed “life is returning to our streets” as he announced families can be reunited, drinkers can enjoy a trip to the pub and people can go on holiday.
Social distancing will be cut from two metres to “one metre plus” and indoor gatherings involving two separate households will be permitted – including the possibility of staying overnight – but social distancing will need to be maintained, meaning no hugs with friends or relatives.
The Prime Minister added: Our principle is to trust the British public to use their common sense in the full knowledge of the risks, remembering that the more we open up, the more vigilant we will need to be.”