One hundred days of lockdown – How have things developed in the UK?

Tuesday marks the 100th day since the UK went into lockdown.

As many restrictions are eased, here’s a look back at how things have developed.

– March 23: The UK public is told they are only allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons, including shopping for food, exercise once per day, medical need and travelling for work when absolutely necessary.

All shops selling non-essential goods are told to close, gatherings of more than two people in public are banned, all events including weddings – but excluding funerals – are cancelled.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced financial measures to prevent mass lay-offs as businesses were forced to close (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA)
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced financial measures to prevent mass lay-offs as businesses were forced to close (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA)

– March 25: The Prince of Wales tests positive for coronavirus, but is displaying only “mild symptoms”, Clarence House says.

Sweeping emergency powers to tackle the coronavirus are set to become law after clearing the House of Lords without amendment.

– March 26: A support package for the self-employed is announced – covering an average of 80% of earnings over the last three years.

A few days previously, Chancellor Rishi Sunak had announced a multibillion-pound package of measures to prevent mass lay-offs and improve the welfare system.

The Clap for our Carers campaign begins, kicking off a weekly national applause of appreciation for frontline NHS workers.

The weekly clap for carers became a highlight of the week for many (Andrew Milligan/PA)
The weekly clap for carers became a highlight of the week for many (Andrew Milligan/PA)

– March 27:  Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock test positive for Covid-19, while chief medical officer Chris Whitty says he has symptoms of the disease and is self-isolating.

– March 29: Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England, says normal life in the UK will not resume for at least six months, with social-distancing measures to be lifted in a gradual way.

– April 5: Downing Street says Mr Johnson has been admitted to hospital for tests as a “precautionary step” as his coronavirus symptoms persisted.

Just before the announcement, The Queen delivers a message of hope to the nation amid the lockdown, echoing the words of Forces’ sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn’s Second World War song, saying “we will meet again”.

The Queen delivered a message in which she echoed the words of Dame Vera Lynn (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The Queen delivered a message in which she echoed the words of Dame Vera Lynn (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

– April 6: Downing Street says the Prime Minister’s condition has worsened and he is moved to St Thomas’ Hospital’s intensive care unit.

– April 12: Mr Johnson is discharged from hospital and will continue his recovery at Chequers, Downing Street says.

The hospital death toll of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK passes the 10,000 mark.

– April 15: The National Police Chiefs’ Council says more than 3,200 fines for alleged breaches of coronavirus lockdown laws were issued by police forces in England between March 27 and April 13.

– April 16: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, still deputising for the Prime Minister as he recuperates, announces that lockdown measures will be extended for at least three more weeks.

– April 20:  The Chancellor reveals that more than 140,000 people applied to the Government’s job retention scheme on the morning of its launch.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford speaking via video link during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA)
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford speaking via videolink during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA)

– April 22: For the first time in British parliamentary history, MPs contribute to Prime Minister’s Questions via videolink.

– April 23: Millions of people become eligible for a coronavirus test under an expansion of the testing programme for essential workers and their households, announced by the Health Secretary.

The first people are injected as part of human trials in the UK for a coronavirus vaccine, led by Oxford University.

– April 27: Mr Johnson is back in Downing Street and “in charge” of the Government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, after spending two weeks at Chequers.

It comes as the Government faces calls from MPs for a full action plan to tackle a rising tide of domestic abuse since the lockdown and to introduce new measures to ensure that employers assess the risks of people returning to work before easing restrictions.

– April 28: Mr Johnson vows that key workers who have lost their lives in the pandemic will not be forgotten, as a national minute’s silence is held in their honour.

– April 30: Mr Johnson, in his first Downing Street press conference since being hospitalised for Covid-19, says the country is now “past the peak of this disease”. He promises to deliver a “comprehensive plan” on how the UK lockdown may be eased, suggesting he will set out efforts to get the economy moving and children back to school.

Veteran Captain Tom Moore was awarded a knighthood after raising millions of pounds for the NHS (Joe Giddens/PA)
Veteran Captain Tom Moore was awarded a knighthood after raising millions of pounds for the NHS (Joe Giddens/PA)

Captain Tom Moore celebrates his 100th birthday at home with his family following a whirlwind few weeks in which he has become a national hero after raising more than £32 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden. He is later awarded a knighthood.

– May 2: Mr Johnson reveals that doctors had at one point prepared to announce his death as he battled coronavirus in hospital in April.

– May 4: England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, urges the public to download a new contact-tracing app as part of measures to ease the lockdown.

– May 5: The UK’s declared death toll from coronavirus rises to more than 32,000 to pass Italy’s total and become the highest in Europe.

Trials of the new coronavirus contact-tracing app begin on the Isle of Wight.

– May 6: Professor Neil Ferguson quits as a Government adviser on coronavirus and resigns from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) after admitting an “error of judgment” because he allowed a woman to visit him at his London home during lockdown, adding he regretted “undermining” the message on social distancing.

It follows the resignation of Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood in April after twice breaking lockdown restrictions in order to visit her second home, which was located more than an hour away from her main residence in Edinburgh.

PM Boris Johnson addressed the nation almost two months into lockdown, setting out a roadmap towards lifting restrictions (Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA)
PM Boris Johnson addressed the nation almost two months into lockdown, setting out a roadmap towards lifting restrictions (Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA)

– May 10: Mr Johnson sets out “the first sketch of a road map” for easing the coronavirus lockdown in an address to the nation, but is immediately hit by calls for clarity on it from police, unions and businesses in England.

He says a phased reopening of schools and non-essential shops in England could potentially begin from June 1 if transmission can be reduced and people who cannot work from home should be “actively encouraged” to return to their jobs. He granted unlimited exercise in England.

Leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland refused to adopt his new “stay alert” slogan in favour of the “stay home” message, and said sufficient details had not been provided.

– May 12: The Chancellor says the furlough scheme, currently supporting 7.5 million jobs, will be extended until the end of October, but employers will be expected to pick up a share of the bill from August as the economy reopens.

Research is underway in the UK to find a Covid-19 vaccine (Pool/PA)
Research is under way in the UK to find a Covid-19 vaccine (Pool/PA)

– May 17: The Government is investing a further £84 million in the hunt for a vaccine. Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the additional funding would support teams at Oxford University and Imperial College London.

– May 20: A testing and tracing system, seen as the key to easing the lockdown, will be up and running by June 1 – but the rollout of the contact tracing app will come later, according to Mr Johnson.

– May 22: Quarantine measures are announced requiring travellers arriving in the UK from June 8 to share contact details with the authorities and then self-isolate.

Reports suggest that Mr Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings allegedly broke the Government’s lockdown rules, having travelled with his wife and son from London to his parents’ property in Durham.

– May 24: Mr Johnson backs Mr Cummings, and confirms a phased reopening of England’s primary schools.

– May 25: After a weekend which saw pressure ramp up on Mr Cummings to resign, the aide takes the unusual step of giving a press conference in the Downing Street rose garden.

Dominic Cummings said he did not regret his actions in driving from London to Durham during the lockdown (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Dominic Cummings said he did not regret his actions in driving from London to Durham during the lockdown (Jonathan Brady/PA)

He defends himself, saying he believes he behaved “reasonably” and does not regret his actions, which included driving to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight on Easter Sunday.

 – June 1:  Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 across England begin returning to primary school, but the number of pupils back in the classroom varies significantly depending on local area.

– June 8:  Passengers, bar a handful of exemptions, have to go into self-isolation for 14 days when they arrive in the UK and people who fail to comply can be fined £1,000 in England.

– June 9: Education Secretary Gavin Williamson tells MPs that primary schools in England will not be able to welcome all pupils back for a month before the summer holidays as the Government had previously hoped.

– June 10: The number of deaths from coronavirus could have been halved if lockdown was introduced a week earlier, Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London tells the Science and Technology Committee.

– June 13: Grandparents in England who live alone reunite with their families, while some couples who do not live together are once again allowed to stay overnight at each other’s homes as “support bubbles” for single adult households come into effect in England.

Keen shoppers wore masks and queued two metres apart as shops in England reopened (Victoria Jones/PA)
Keen shoppers wore masks and queued two metres apart as shops in England reopened (Victoria Jones/PA)

-June 15: Queues form as non-essential shops reopen in England. People can also return to zoos, safari parks and places of worship for private prayer. Face masks become mandatory on public transport in England.

Secondary schools and colleges in England are opening to more pupils in Year 10 and Year 12 this week.

– June 17: The Premier League returns, but matches are played behind closed doors with fans only able to watch games on television.

– June 18:  The Government is forced into an embarrassing U-turn over its tracing app, announcing that it is ditching ambitions to develop its own software and instead will work with tech giants Apple and Google on a new, improved design.

Mr Hancock had promised the tracing app would be rolled out in mid-May, but officials now say they hope an app will be ready by the autumn-winter flu season.

– June 19: Mr Johnson says it is his intention that children of all ages in England should be able to return to school on a five-day-a-week basis in September, after the Government announced a £1 billion plan to help the most disadvantaged pupils catch up with learning through tutoring services.

Some children have been out of school since March during lockdown (Jacob King/PA)– Sun May 31, 2020
Some children have been out of school since March during lockdown (Jacob King/PA)

The Government extends measures to prevent landlords from evicting businesses at the end of the month, saying tenants cannot be evicted until at least the end of September.

– June 23: The two-metre rule on social distancing will be relaxed to “1m-plus” from July 4, with people advised to take other precautions such as wearing face coverings, Mr Johnson announces.

From July 4, families will also be able to reunite, drinkers can enjoy a trip to the pub and people can go on holiday in England, in a significant relaxation of lockdown restrictions.

Cinemas, museums, art galleries, bingo halls, community centres, hair salons, work canteens, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms hairdressers and barbers will be able to welcome customers again from that date.

In Northern Ireland, up to six people are able to meet indoors.

Pubs are preparing to open in England from July 4 (Joe Giddens/PA)
Pubs are preparing to open in England from July 4 (Joe Giddens/PA)

– June 24: The Scottish Government announces it intends to allow outdoor hospitality such as beer gardens to reopen on July 6, non-essential shops within indoor shopping centres to re-open from July 13, and households will be able to meet indoors with people from up to two other households from July 15.

– June 25: Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster says social-distancing requirements will be reduced from two metres to one as restaurant owners and hoteliers prepare to reopen on July 3. A raft of other reopenings are announced, including nail parlours and beauty salons on July 6, playgrounds on July 10 and the resumption of competitive sport on July 17.

Meanwhile the Welsh Government has no timetable for reopening pubs and restaurants, the finance minister says.

The “stay local” requirement is due to end on July 6 if transmissions continue to fall, and businesses in the tourism and visitor sectors can tentatively begin to take bookings for the week beginning July 13.

Independent think tank the Nuffield Trust says analysis showed Wales has the slowest decline of Covid-19 compared to other parts of the UK, as well as the highest number of cases per 100,000 of the population.

Summer weather June 25th 2020
Crowds gather on the beach in Bournemouth (Andrew Matthews/PA)

– June 26: After thousands of sunseekers flock to beaches during a heatwave the PM warns people against “taking liberties” with social-distancing rules, saying it could lead to the danger of a “serious spike” in coronavirus infections.

Foreign holidays are back on the cards as quarantine measures for people entering the UK are due to be scrapped for some countries and replaced with a traffic light system based on a country’s coronavirus risk, ministers say.

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