COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom

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COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
COVID-19 outbreak UK per capita cases map.svg
Confirmed cases per 100,000 residents[nb 1]
COVID 19 in England collage 1.jpg
(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.
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationUnited Kingdom
First outbreakWuhan, China
Index caseYork
Arrival date31 January 2020
(8 months, 3 weeks and 3 days ago)[1]
Confirmed cases358,138[2]
Deaths
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. By 13 May there had been 229,705 confirmed cases[nb 4] and 33,186 deaths overall.[nb 2]

Numbers[change | change source]

More than 90% of those dying had underlying illnesses or were over 60 years old. The infection rate is higher in care homes than in the community. There is large regional difference in the outbreak's severity. The outbreak in London has the highest number and highest rate of infections. England and Wales are the UK countries with the highest recorded death rate per capita, while Northern Ireland has 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, and hospitals set up drive-through screening. The Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, created a four-stage strategy to tackle the outbreak: contain, delay, research and mitigate.

Cases[change | change source]

Transmission in the United Kingdom was first documented on 28 February,[4] and by 1 March there were cases in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.[5]

Government response during the pandemic[change | change source]

The government created the Coronavirus Action Plan, and said the outbreak a "level 4 incident".[6]

On 11 March, the outbreak was declared a pandemic.[7][8][9] Four days later—following the outbreak in Italy,[10][11][12] 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.[10] Panic buying was reported.

Lockdowns[change | change source]

On 20 March, the four governments shut all schools,[13] restaurants, pubs, indoor entertainment venues and leisure centres, with some exceptions.[14][15][16][17] 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[18] not used since the Second World War.[19][20]

Effects[change | change source]

It is said that the lockdown will severely damage the UK economy,[21] lead to millions of job losses,[22] worsen mental health and suicide rates,[23] and cause "collateral" deaths due to isolation, delays and falling living standards.[24]

Researchers suggest the lockdown could be lifted by shielding only the most vulnerable and using contact tracing.[25]

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.[26]

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. 2.0 2.1 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 (see COVID-19 pandemic on cruise ships), or the 84 recorded deaths in the British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies.
  3. Daily updates occur around 2 pm UTC.
  4. Not including cases identified in British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, all of which test and report cases independently.

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. 0 (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. "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.
  5. "Coronavirus in Scotland". Scottish Government. Archived from the original on 5 March 2020. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  6. Discombe, Matt (3 March 2020). "National incident over coronavirus allows NHSE to command local resources". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  7. "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.
  8. "Coronavirus could spread 'significantly' – PM". BBC News. 2 March 2020. Archived from the original on 2 March 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  9. "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.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "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.
  11. Remuzzi, Andrea; Remuzzi, Giuseppe (13 March 2020). "COVID-19 and Italy: what next?". The Lancet. 0 (10231): 1225–1228. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30627-9. ISSN 0140-6736. PMC 7102589. PMID 32178769.
  12. 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.
  13. "Coronavirus: UK schools to close from Friday". BBC News. 18 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020.
  14. "The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (Wales) Regulations 2020". legislation.gov.uk. legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  15. "The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020". www.legislation.gov.uk. www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  16. "The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020". www.legislation.gov.uk. www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  17. "The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 March 2020.
  18. "PM announces strict new curbs on life in UK". BBC News. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  19. "What is in the Coronavirus Bill? Key areas of the new legislation". The Telegraph, 25 March 2020.
  20. "Britain Placed Under a Virtual Lockdown by Boris Johnson". The New York Times, 23 March 2020.
  21. "Chancellor Sunak warns of 'tough times' for UK economy". BBC News, 14 April 2020.
  22. "Coronavirus: More than 6.5 million jobs to be lost in UK lockdown, study predicts". The Independent, 19 April 2020.
  23. "Coronavirus: 'Profound' mental health impact prompts calls for urgent research". BBC News, 16 April 2020.
  24. "Coronavirus: How to understand the death toll". BBC News, 16 April 2020.
  25. "Coronavirus: 'Segment and shield' way to lift UK lockdown now". BBC News, 5 May 2020.
  26. Sally Weale (July 1, 2020). "English schools 'using coronavirus as excuse' not to teach special needs pupils". Guardian. Retrieved July 1, 2020.