Today (January 29) marks exactly two years since the COVID-19 The pandemic was first officially discovered off the coast of the UK.
The virus has completely dominated our lives for the last 24 months.
Many of us not only lost loved ones or had to watch from afar as our friends and family suffered, but also had to deal with the personal challenges brought about by multiple lockdowns and a near-constant national focus on death and disease. .
So, as the UK marks this grim milestone, we take a look at how the Covid-19 pandemic started in the UK.
How did the Covid pandemic get to the UK?
The first official case of Covid-19 was recorded in the UK on January 29, 2020.
By this point, Covid had become a growing presence in the national conversation as images emerged of empty streets in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which entered a strict lockdown on January 23.
However, the news was still dominated by Brexit and Prince Andrew (some things never change).
The first patient from the UK, whose identity is still unknown, was a Chinese woman from Hubei province who had been visiting her son, a student at York University.
He fell ill on January 26, just two days after then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock told reporters the risk to the UK was low.
On January 29, both the woman and her son suffered from a fever and a dry cough.
The son called NHS 111 and that night two paramedics arrived at their hotel in hazmat suits to take them to hospital in Hull.
The next day, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the pandemic a global emergency and the UK raised its risk level to moderate.
Tests carried out at the Public Health England laboratory in Colindale, London, confirmed that the couple had Covid-19, and the results were announced to the general public on January 31.
The mother and son were also transferred to a specialist unit in Newcastle on January 31 and remained there until they recovered on February 17.
At this point, the track and trace system had found no other cases linked to the couple.
How did the UK react?
Despite the news of the virus arriving on January 31, it was a day completely dominated by Brexit.
On that date, the UK left many of the EU institutions and entered a transition period.
It was a day that Prime Minister Boris Johnson probably hoped would come to define his role as prime minister, and maybe it did, but not in the way he hoped.
It was not until February 26 that most of the covers began to be dominated by Covid.
At this point, cases were on the rise in Italy, and Sage’s scientific advisory group was recommending closing schools to curb transmission.
There have been 80,000 officially recorded cases worldwide and 2,700 deaths.
On this date, Matt Hancock told members of the House of Commons that the Government’s plan was: “Contain. Delay. Investigate and Mitigate”.
“If someone has been in contact with a suspected case in a daycare or educational setting, no special measures are required while waiting for test results,” he said.
“There is no need to close the school or send other students or staff home.”
Hancock also advised people to “take sensible precautions” such as “wearing tissues” and increasing the frequency of hand washing.
Just under a month later, the UK entered a nationwide lockdown that it would not come out of until June.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.