the uk coronavirus timeline

From liberty to lockdown, here is a timeline detailing how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected the UK and the measures the Government have put in place.  You can find the full version of this timeline on Wikipedia.

July 2020

  • 31st – The Prime Minister postpones some lockdown easing measures scheduled to begin in England on the 1st of August for 2 weeks amid concerns about rising COVID-19 cases.  Wedding receptions of up to 30 people which were to be allowed from the 1st of August are now moved back to August 15th.
  • 31st – The ONS household survey indicates that COVID-19 cases in England are rising again.
  • 30th – Prime Minister Boris Johnson warns the UK is “not out of the woods” as he warns of the danger of a resurgence.
  • 30th – Restrictions are placed on Greater Manchester, and parts of East Lancashire and Yorkshire prohibiting separate households from meeting indoors following an “increasing rate of transmission” in those areas caused by people failing to adhere to social distancing rules. The restrictions take effect from midnight.
  • 23rd – The House of Commons Culture Select Committee criticises the government for being too slow to respond to what it describes as the “existential threat” faced by live theatre, music and other culture because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 17th – Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces a further easing of lockdown restrictions for England, with plans for a “significant return to normality” by Christmas.
  • 17th – Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces a pilot scheme for a return to indoor performances with socially distanced audiences at theatres, music and performance venues, with a view to a full return in August.
  • 14th – The UK government announces that the wearing of face coverings will become compulsory in shops and supermarkets in England from the 24th of July.
  • 13th – New measures come into effect, allowing the re-opening of nail bars and salons, tanning booths and salons, spas and beauty salons, massage parlours, tattoo parlours, and body and skin piercing services.
  • 11th – New measures come into effect, allowing outdoor swimming pools and water parks to re-open.
  • 8th – Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils a £30bn spending package including a temporary reduction in VAT for the hospitality sector.

June 2020

  • 29th – The BBC indicates that the UK has been the worst hit of the G7 countries in terms of COVID-19, while England is the worst-hit nation of Europe, just ahead of Spain.
  • 29th – Following a spike in COVID-19 cases in Leicester, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announces the reintroduction of stricter lockdown measures for the city.
  • 28th – Home Secretary Priti Patel confirms that the government is considering imposing a local lockdown on Leicester, which has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases.
  • 26th – Prime Minister Boris Johnson warns that the UK could be set back if people continue to ignore social distancing rules.
  • 26th – Professor Neil Ferguson, a former government scientific adviser, says he does not believe a second national lockdown would be necessary but instead would expect to see “targeted” measures to deal with outbreaks.
  • 25th – The UK government announces plans to relax rules for England and Wales allowing pubs and restaurants to utilise outdoor spaces such as terraces, pavements and car parks.
  • 24th – The UK government publishes new advice for businesses on how to safely reopen their premises on the 4th of July.
  • 23rd – Boris Johnson leads the UK government’s final Downing Street daily briefing. From now on press briefings will be held whenever there is a significant announcement.
  • 22nd – The UK records its lowest number of new coronavirus cases since the beginning of lockdown.
  • 20th – Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirm that the review into the 2m social distancing rule in England will conclude within the coming days.
  • 19th – The UK’s COVID-19 Alert Level is lowered from Level 4 (severe risk, high transmission) to Level 3 (substantial risk, general circulation). Health Secretary Matt Hancock describes the change as “a big moment for the country“.
  • 15th – New regulations come into effect, allowing the general re-opening of restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, most cinemas, theatres, museums, hairdressers, indoor sports and leisure facilities.
  • 13th – Parts of the revised Health Protection Regulations 2020 come into effect where households in England and Northern Ireland with one adult may now become linked with one other household of any size, allowing them to be treated as one for the purpose of permitted gatherings. This also allows the members of one household to stay overnight at the home of the other. The government refers to this as a ”support bubble”.
  • 9th – Business Secretary Alok Sharma confirms that all non-essential retailers in England can reopen from Monday 15th of June providing they follow safety guidelines. Pubs, bars, restaurants and hairdressers must wait until the 4 of July “at the earliest” to reopen.
  • 2nd – The Royal Shakespeare Company announces it has called off performances planned for the summer, autumn and winter because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • 1st – New Coronavirus health protection measures come into effect where gatherings of people from more than one household are limited to six people outdoors and are prohibited entirely indoors, with exceptions including education.

May 2020

  • 29th – Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will end at the end of October.  Self-employed people whose work has been affected by the outbreak will receive a “second and final” government grant in August.
  • 20th – Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Oliver Dowden announces the establishment of a task force that will look at how sporting and arts events can resume safely.
  • 12th – Chancellor Rishi Sunak extends the UK’s furlough scheme until October, with employees continuing to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500.
  • 11th – The UK government advises people in England to wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not possible, such as on public transport and in shops.
  • 10th – The UK government updates its coronavirus message from “stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives” to “stay alert, control the virus, save lives“.  Outlining future easing of restrictions, Johnson says “step two” – no sooner than the 1st of June – would include reopening some shops and the return of school pupils.  “Step three” – at the earliest by July – would begin the reopening of the hospitality industry and other public places.

April 2020

  • 30th – Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the UK is “past the peak” of the COVID-19 outbreak but that the country must not “risk a second spike“, and announces that he will set out “comprehensive plan” for easing the lockdown “next week“.
  • 16th – Chancellor Rishi Sunak extends the subsidised wage scheme for furloughed workers for another month, to the end of June.
  • 12th – Prime Minister Boris Johnson is discharged from hospital after being treated for coronavirus and will continue his recovery at Chequers.
  • 6th – Prime Minister Boris Johnson is taken into intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital.

March 2020

  • 30th – Vehicle owners are granted a six-month exemption from MOT tests, enabling them to continue using their vehicles for essential travel.
  • 27th – Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock both test positive for COVID-19. Johnson will self-isolate in 10 Downing Street and Hancock is self-isolating at home whilst working.  Meanwhile, Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s lead adviser, travels 250 miles to Durham with his wife and child.
  • 26th – The government announces that some self-employed will be paid 80% of profits, up to £2,500 a month, to help them cope during the economic crisis triggered by COVID-19.
  • 24th – The Police are given powers to use reasonable force to enforce the lockdown regulations.
  • 23rd – Boris Johnson announces a UK-wide partial lockdown, to contain the spread of the virus. The British public are instructed that they must stay at home, except for certain “very limited purposes” – shopping for basic necessities; for “one form of exercise a day“; for any medical need; and to travel to and from work when “absolutely necessary“.
  • 20th – The Prime Minister orders all cafes, pubs and restaurants to close from the evening of 20 March, except for take-away food, to tackle the Coronavirus. All the UK’s nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres are told to close “as soon as they reasonably can“.
  • 20th – Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces that the government will pay 80% of wages for employees not working, up to £2,500 a month, as part of “unprecedented” measures to protect people’s jobs.
  • 20th – All schools across the UK close.
  • 17th – Glastonbury Festival is cancelled.  All Cinema’s in the UK close and the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announces that £330bn will be made available in loan guarantees for certain types of businesses affected by the Coronavirus.
  • 16th – Government advise against all non-essential travel and to work from home if possible.  Avoid visiting social venues, clubs and theatres.  As a consequence of this advice, all theatres around the UK close their doors to the public.
  • 15th – London’s Old Vic Theatre becomes the first to cancel a performance because of the pandemic.
  • 15th – Daily press conferences from Downing Street are announced starting 16th March.
  • 14th – Retailers ask the general public not to panic buy!
  • 13th – Radio 1 cancels its Big Weekend music festival.
  • 5th – First death from Coronavirus in the UK.
  • 4th – 85 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the UK.
  • 2nd – UK Government holds it’s first COBR meeting to prepare its response and actions.

February 2020

  • 28th – The first confirmed case of Coronavirus in Northern Ireland and Wales.
  • 25th – The UK Government requires that travellers returning from Hubei, Iran and certain regions in South Korea should self-isolate at home or at their final destination.
  • 10th – Coronavirus cases confirmed in the UK now reaches eight.
  • 6th – The third case of Coronavirus has been confirmed in the UK.

January 2020

  • 31st – The first two cases of Coronavirus in the UK confirmed.
  • 25th – The FCO advises against all travel to China’s Hubei Province where Wuhan, the original centre of the outbreak occurred.


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