March is turning into a big month for anniversaries. We have already blogged about that Salisbury nerve agent poisonings and the Fukushima nuclear disaster and, if we had had time, we could also have recalled the Herald of Free Enterprise (6th March 1987). However, today is the big one, the anniversary of the UK’s first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.
Two years on, it is still shocking how quickly the situation deteriorated in the weeks leading up to the lockdown, a rough chronology is shown below:
3/3 UK Government publishes COVID-19 action plan
6/3 Confirmed cases in the UK pass 100 (still no deaths)
11/3 WHO declares COVID-19 pandemic
12/3 UK Government announces move from “Contain” to “Delay” phase
15/3 Confirmed cases in the UK pass 1000 (21 deaths)
16/3 PM announces new social distancing measures for all
20/3 Schools, bars and restaurants close; Job Retention Scheme announced
23/3 PM announces lockdown throughout UK
We had gone from essentially “business as usual” to an unprecedented shut-down of society in about three weeks. What’s more, we had absolutely no idea how long these extensive restrictions on everyday life might last, nor how bad the pandemic might get. Even now, two years on, there are many unanswered questions about Covid-19.
I guess that this pervasive uncertainty is my abiding memory of the pandemic, but it would appear that other people took away very different lessons. Despite the past two years, I still find plenty of people who firmly believe that they will have the luxury of access to accurate, timely and complete information about the situation whenever they have to manage a crisis or disaster!