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COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom

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COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
Confirmed cases per 100,000 residents[nb 1]
(top row) Billboard championing the NHS; supermarket shelves stripped of lavatory paper; childrens' rainbow chalkings, (bottom row) social distancing queues outside a supermarket; NHS Nightingale hospital, London; pavement drawings; playground closed during lockdown.
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationUnited Kingdom
First outbreakWuhan, China
Index caseYork
Arrival date31 January 2020
(4 years, 3 months, 4 weeks and 1 day ago)[1]
Confirmed cases358,138[2]
41,608[nb 2][2][3]
Fatality rate11.62%
Government website
'Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice' at www.gov.uk[nb 3]

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic spread to the United Kingdom in late January 2020. As of 30 April 2024, 24,918,627 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, and 232,112 people have died of COVID-19.[4]

Numbers[change | change source]

More than 90% of those dying had underlying illnesses or were over 60 years old. The infection rate was higher in care homes than in the community. There were large regional difference in the outbreak's severity. The outbreak in London had the highest total number and the most infections. England and Wales were the UK countries with the highest recorded death rate per head, and Northern Ireland had the lowest.

Government response before the pandemic[change | change source]

The Department of Health and Social Care created a public health campaign to help slow the virus's spread, and began posting daily updates in early February.

In February, the Heath Secretary, Matt Hancock, proposed the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020. Hospitals set up drive-through screening (testing for the disease). The Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, created a four-stage strategy to tackle the outbreak: contain, delay, research and mitigate (help, lessen).

Cases[change | change source]

First cases in the United Kingdom were on on 28 February,[5] and by 1 March there were cases in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.[6]

Government response during the pandemic[change | change source]

The government created the Coronavirus Action Plan, and said the outbreak a "level 4 incident".[7]

On 11 March, the outbreak was declared a pandemic.[8][9][10] Four days later—following the outbreak in Italy,[11][12][13] the government said everyone should avoid all "non-essential" travel and contact with others, avoid crowds, and work from home if possible. Those with symptoms, and their household, were asked to self-isolate.

Pregnant women, the over 70s, and those with certain illnesses were asked to self-isolate for longer.[11] Panic buying was reported.

Lockdowns[change | change source]

On 20 March 2020, the four governments shut all schools,[14] restaurants, pubs, indoor entertainment venues and leisure centres, with some exceptions.[15][16][17][18] On 23 March, the UK government made a lockdown on the whole population, banning all "non-essential" travel and contact with people outside one's home and shutting almost all businesses, venues, facilities, amenities and places of worship.

People were told to keep apart in public. Police were given the power to enforce the lockdown, and the Coronavirus Act 2020 gave the government emergency powers[19] not used since the Second World War.[20][21]

More lockdowns took place in October, November and December 2020. Different places had different rules.[22] A national lockdown in England began on 5 January 2021.[23][24]

Effects[change | change source]

It is said that the lockdown will severely damage the UK economy,[25] lead to millions of job losses,[26] worsen mental health and suicide rates,[27] and cause "collateral" deaths due to isolation, delays and falling living standards.[28]

Researchers suggest the lockdown could be lifted by shielding only the most vulnerable and using contact tracing.[29]

Some schools stayed open to teach the children of essential workers, at-risk children, and children with special education needs. However, adults who work for disabled students' rights told Parliament that British educators had unfairly sent special education students home without good reasons.[30]

Covid vaccine administration[change | change source]

Starting with the most at risk, the UK vaccinations is going in this order:

Notes[change | change source]

  1. By district (England), London borough, unitary authority (England and Wales), council area (Scotland), and local government district (Northern Ireland)
  2. Death figures are those who have died after testing positive. It does not include the death of one British citizen on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship , or the 84 recorded deaths in the British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies.
  3. Daily updates occur around 2 pm UTC.

References[change | change source]

  1. Lillie, Patrick J.; Samson, Anda; Li, Ang; Adams, Kate; Capstick, Richard; Barlow, Gavin D.; Easom, Nicholas; Hamilton, Eve; Moss, Peter J.; Evans, Adam; Ivan, Monica (28 February 2020). "Novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19): The first two patients in the UK with person to person transmission". Journal of Infection. 80 (5): 600–601. doi:10.1016/j.jinf.2020.02.020. ISSN 0163-4453. PMC 7127394. PMID 32119884.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK". GOV.UK Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the UK. UK Crown. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  3. "Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  4. Ritchie, Hannah; Mathieu, Edouard; Rodés-Guirao, Lucas; Appel, Cameron; Giattino, Charlie; Ortiz-Ospina, Esteban; Hasell, Joe; Macdonald, Bobbie; Beltekian, Diana; Dattani, Saloni; Roser, Max (2020–2023). "Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19)". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2024-04-30.
  5. "Coronavirus: Latest patient was first to be infected in UK". BBC News. 28 February 2020. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 29 February 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  6. "Coronavirus in Scotland". Scottish Government. Archived from the original on 5 March 2020. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  7. Discombe, Matt (3 March 2020). "National incident over coronavirus allows NHSE to command local resources". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  8. "WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 11 March 2020". World Health Organization. 12 March 2020. Archived from the original on 11 March 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  9. "Coronavirus could spread 'significantly' – PM". BBC News. 2 March 2020. Archived from the original on 2 March 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  10. "COVID-19: government announces moving out of contain phase and into delay". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 16 March 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Coronavirus: PM says everyone should avoid office, pubs and travelling". BBC News. 16 March 2020. Archived from the original on 16 March 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  12. Remuzzi, Andrea; Remuzzi, Giuseppe (13 March 2020). "COVID-19 and Italy: what next?". The Lancet. 395 (10231): 1225–1228. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30627-9. ISSN 0140-6736. PMC 7102589. PMID 32178769.
  13. Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team (16 March 2020). "Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand" (PDF). Imperial College London. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. "Coronavirus: UK schools to close from Friday". BBC News. 18 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020.
  15. "The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (Wales) Regulations 2020". legislation.gov.uk. legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  16. "The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020". www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  17. "The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020". www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  18. "The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 March 2020.
  19. "PM announces strict new curbs on life in UK". BBC News. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  20. "What is in the Coronavirus Bill? Key areas of the new legislation". The Telegraph, 25 March 2020.
  21. "Britain Placed Under a Virtual Lockdown by Boris Johnson". The New York Times, 23 March 2020.
  22. GOV.uk https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-statement-on-coronavirus-covid-19-31-october-2020
  23. "National lockdown: Stay at Home". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  24. "Covid: England and Scotland begin new lockdowns as cases rise". BBC News. 2021-01-05. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  25. "Chancellor Sunak warns of 'tough times' for UK economy". BBC News, 14 April 2020.
  26. "Coronavirus: More than 6.5 million jobs to be lost in UK lockdown, study predicts". The Independent, 19 April 2020.
  27. "Coronavirus: 'Profound' mental health impact prompts calls for urgent research". BBC News, 16 April 2020.
  28. "Coronavirus: How to understand the death toll". BBC News, 16 April 2020.
  29. "Coronavirus: 'Segment and shield' way to lift UK lockdown now". BBC News, 5 May 2020.
  30. Sally Weale (July 1, 2020). "English schools 'using coronavirus as excuse' not to teach special needs pupils". Guardian. Retrieved July 1, 2020.