COVID 19 - THE TIMELINE OF A PANDEMIC

By Richard Fleury

The whole world will remember 2020 as the year of coronavirus.


In Faversham, as elsewhere, the outbreak has caused the biggest disruption to our way of life since World War Two.


This pandemic has affected us all in ways which were unimaginable only a few months ago.

Most of us now know someone who has had the virus. Some of them, sadly, have not recovered. Many of us will have friends or family who are carers or medical staff whose safety and welfare is being directly affected by decisions made at a national level.


With every passing day it has become more painfully obvious that the UK was sleepwalking into this crisis and our leaders got it very, very wrong.


Right now, the long-term consequences are impossible to predict. Our town and our country may not be quite the same again.


But whatever the future holds, we felt it was important for the Eye to record and try to understand how we got here.


So this is how it all started:

Sunday 12 January


China releases the coronavirus genetic code. The UK is one of the first countries to develop an accurate test and begins tracing potential carriers

Friday 24 January


The disease has spread to six countries. Globally respected medical journal the Lancet warns it could deadlier than the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic which killed 50 million.


Boris Johnson skips an emergency meeting of the Cobra national crisis committee.


Health Secretary Matthew Hancock says the risk to the UK is ‘low’.


Prof Chris Whitty, the Government’s chief medical officer, adds: “The UK is well-prepared...with excellent readiness against infectious diseases.”

Wednesday 29 January


The UK’s first two patients test positive for Covid-19.

Thursday 30 January


The World Health Organisation puts all governments on notice that the coming threat is a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ – the highest level of alert that the WHO can issue.

Friday 31 January


In the Lancet, Chinese researchers warn of a global epidemic. “Preparedness plans should be readied,” they urge, “including securing supply chains of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, hospital supplies, and the necessary human resources”.


At 11pm Britain formally exits the European Union. By now, the coronavirus outbreak has overtaken SARS.

Friday 7 February


Public Health England says: “The risk to individuals remains low.”

Tuesday 11 February


Scientists modelling the outbreak advise a Cobra committee on measures including restricting leisure activities and public gatherings. Boris Johnson is absent.

Wednesday 12 February


The virus spreads into Europe as the Health Department states: “The NHS and wider health system is extremely well prepared for coronavirus.”

Monday 17 February


Faversham's MP Helen Whately joins the Health Department as Minister of Care as part of Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.

Friday 21 February


As restrictions are imposed in badly-affected northern Italy, a UK government advisory committee of scientists finds "no objections" to keeping the risk level to the country at "moderate".


Meanwhile Boris Johnson enjoys a 12-day holiday with his pregnant fiancée at Chevening, a 115-room 17th-century grace and favour mansion by a lake on a 3,500-acre country estate near Sevenoaks.

Monday 24 February


Nine cases of Covid-19 are confirmed in the UK, as the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends countries prioritise testing and contact tracing.


The UK Government confirms it has sent nearly 650,000 items of health workers' Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to China.

Tuesday 25 February


Global cases exceed 80,000.

Wednesday 26 February


Scientists warn the Government's Cobra emergency committee the NHS “will be unable to meet all demands” from an unchecked pandemic. Again, Boris Johnson is absent.

Friday 28 February


Boris Johnson's advisor Dominic Cummings promotes 'herd immunity' or allowing the virus to spread unchecked. Cummings allegedly argues “protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad”.


The FTSE index suffers its biggest one-week fall since 2008.


The UK has 20 confirmed cases.

Monday 2 March


The first Kent case is reported as a Faversham father tests positive after a trip to Italy.


Some Queen Elizabeths' pupils self-isolate for 14 days as a family member is diagnosed.


After missing five Cobra meetings while he took a holiday, reshuffled his cabinet and prioritised Brexit, Boris Johnson attends for the first time. By now, every Western European country but one is infected.

Tuesday 3 March


Boris Johnson unveils his coronavirus 'action plan', advising people to wash their hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. Hand-sanitising gel sells out. Faversham Boots limits purchases to two per customer. MPs warn of a national shortage of health workers.


Faversham MP and health minister Helen Whately tells them they are ‘talking down’ the NHS. “Let’s stop talking about a crisis in nurse staffing,” she says.

Wednesday 4 March


There are now 85 confirmed UK cases as Covid-19 begins to surge.


Italy and Spain shut down, pleading for other countries not to repeat their mistakes.

The virus has now reached 81 countries, with more than 90,000 confirmed worldwide cases and more than 3,000 deaths.

Thursday 5 March


A woman in her seventies becomes the first person to die in the UK after testing positive. More than 100 people are now infected in Britain.


Health Secretary Matthew Hancock claims ministers are working with supermarkets to ensure food supplies reach those self-isolating.


On daytime TV, Boris Johnson says: “I'm shaking hands continuously. I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were actually a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody you'll be pleased to know. I continue to shake hands.”


Referring to 'herd immunity', Boris Johnson says: “Perhaps you could take it on the chin, take it all in one go and allow the disease, as it were, to move through the population, without taking as many draconian measures.”

Saturday 7 March


Supermarkets accuse Matthew Hancock of lying. One executive says his claims about working with them are “totally made up”.


Boris Johnson attends an England v Wales rugby game at Twickenham.

Tuesday 10 March


The Government announces a £12 billion package of emergency support.


The WHO officially declares a pandemic.


The three-day Cheltenham Festival, attended by 250,000 racegoers is allowed to go ahead.


Nadine Dorries, a junior health minister, becomes the first MP to test positive.

Wednesday 11 March


Britain has 456 cases and has carried out 25,000 tests, according to officials.


Faversham's Newton Place Surgery tells patients with Covid-19 symptoms to call NHS 111.

Thursday 12 March


The UK stops testing people with mild symptoms, against WHO advice. Thousands are now believed to be infected in Britain.


Boris Johnson says: "Many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.”

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who presided over six years of NHS underfunding and privatisation, publicly criticises Boris Johnson's response to the virus.

Friday 13 March


The Government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance explains the current 'herd immunity' approach, saying: “Communities will become immune to it...about 60 per cent is the sort of figure you need.”


With no vaccine available, the policy will result in some 40 million people getting ill and another 800,000 ending up in intensive care. The NHS has fewer than 5,000 intensive care beds and an acute shortage of ventilators, PPE and testing capacity.


Confirmed UK cases rise by more than 200 in 24 hours.


The government recommends not visiting pubs, restaurants or theatres.

Saturday 14 March

The UK's initial contact-and-trace strategy is abandoned. Testing is prioritised for those most ill in hospital.


Thousands sign a junior doctor’s petition demanding NHS workers are tested so they know if they are safe to work. The Government says it is aiming for 25,000 tests a day.


The NHS has 5,000 ventilators. Germany has 28,000.


Spain goes into lockdown.


The Faversham Community Coronavirus Help and Support group is set up to assist local people.


Sunday 15 March


Confirmed UK cases pass 1,000.


Boris Johnson promises daily testing will “hopefully, very soon” rise to 250,000.


The elderly may be quarantined for up to four months, says Health Secretary Matthew Hancock.


In Faversham, Age Concern appeals for helpers and supermarkets run out of pasta, rice, hand sanitiser and toilet roll as nation-wide panic-buying begins.

Monday 16 March


The UK’s death toll in hospitals rises to 55, with 1,543 confirmed cases. An estimated 10,000 people have already been infected.


The WHO urges governments to “Test test test!”


Boris Johnson advises – but does not order – people to work from home and avoid pubs, restaurants, theatres and non-essential travel. He insists the risk of transmission at mass gatherings such as sporting events is “relatively low”.


Schools stay open.


Imperial College scientists warn the Government's policy will potentially cause 250,000 deaths. Number 10 does not publicly mention “herd immunity” again.


On Twitter, Health Secretary Matthew Hancock, asks British manufacturers to make ventilators: “If you produce a ventilator, we will buy it.”


An immuno-compromised Faversham pensioner receives a home assessment visit from a DWP nurse who was in contact with a Covid-19 patient the previous day. The DWP suspends all face-to-face interviews for four weeks.


As Faversham's Tesco store restricts certain items, some customers subject staff to 'shocking' abuse. Others fill trolleys and use self-scan machines to break the two-per-person rule or make multiple trips per day.


Meanwhile Faversham Foodbank sees a surge in donations and offers to help. “People are being astonishingly generous,” says chair Charlie Hendry. “It has almost moved me to tears, some of the stuff we've been getting. More than we would normally get and we have had people sending money as well.”


Faversham's MP, health minister Helen Whately gives several disastrous TV interviews. She claims the NHS has adequate PPE and, on BBC Newsnight, fails to answer the question: "What is the point of not going to the pub if your kids are going to bring coronavirus from school?"

Tuesday 17 March

As 71 hospital deaths are confirmed, Boris Johnson jokes that the national appeal for ventilators should be called 'Operation Last Gasp'.


Number 10's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance says 55,000 people may now be infected and 20,000 deaths would be a “good outcome”.


A patient at Ashford's William Harvey Hospital tests positive.


The Department of Health ignores an offer of 5,000 new ventilators from a UK importer, followed by another offer of 50 million self-test kits.


Chancellor Rishi Sunak promises £350 billion-worth of government aid for companies.

Faversham Town Council cancels all events until June and Faversham's Youth Cafe closes. Faversham's pubs stay open. Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin claims there has “hardly been any” transmission of the coronavirus in pubs.


France goes into lockdown.

Wednesday 18 March


Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby compares the pandemic to “a nuclear explosion”.

The government finally announces schools will shut down from Friday.


Faversham's Abbey Physic Garden closes. The Covid-19 Mutual Aid Faversham group forms.

Tesco announces priority opening for the elderly and vulnerable every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for one hour between 9 and 10am.


Kent County Council allows elderly and disabled bus passes to be used before 9.30am

Thursday 19 March


The hospital death toll reaches 144 in the UK, a 40 per cent increase in 24 hours. There are now 3,269 confirmed cases.


With medical staff reporting PPE shortages, the Government downgrades the status of Covid-19. From today it is no longer classed as a High Consequence Infectious Disease like SARS and MERS and health workers are told to follow new guidance on PPE.


Boris Johnson claims he can “turn the tide of this disease” within 12 weeks and 'send the virus packing'.


Panic buying continues with 42 million extra shopping trips made nationally over the last three days. The hour set aside for the elderly at Faversham Tesco is widely ignored as staff are unable to enforce it. Shoppers at the town's Sainsbury's report similar scenes.

Friday 20 March

Johnson finally orders all pubs, restaurants, gyms and social venues to close in what a former cabinet minister will later describe as a “screeching U-turn”.


The Government announces a list of 'key workers', including health and social care staff and those working in education, local government, the food industry, national security, transport and communications.


Faversham's Jubilee Centre shuts. Faversham Market goes ahead for the last time before closing indefinitely. Faversham Town Council's May 2020 by-elections are cancelled.


Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces the government will pay up to 80 percent of wages for workers' at risk of being laid off.


England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jenny Harries, says: “The country has a perfectly adequate supply of PPE.” She claims supply pressures have been “completely resolved”.

Saturday March 21


Across the UK more than 230 people have died in hospital from the virus, with 4,000 confirmed infected.


Faversham's supermarket shelves are stripped. In the last four weeks, British shoppers have made over 79 million extra grocery shopping trips.


Supermarket chain Morrisons announces a daily 'NHS hour' for health workers from 7am to 8am.

Sunday 22 March

UK hospital deaths reach 281 with 5683 confirmed cases.


The WHO urges the UK to adopt the case finding, contact tracing and testing and quarantine that proved successful in China, Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea.


Downing Street makes emergency requests to research institutions for testing equipment.

In Faversham, as elsewhere, pubs are still busy as Boris Johnson threatens stricter measures.

Monday 23 March


The UK death toll is now 335.


Boris Johnson announces a national lockdown will start tomorrow. Pubs will close, with

people allowed to leave home to shop for food, medicine, exercise once per day and work.


Faversham's Wetherspoons drafts in off-duty staff, expecting one of the busiest nights of the year.


Johnson calls coronavirus “the biggest threat this country has faced for decades”.


Modelling of “targeted herd immunity” is included in a new planning document by a Government health technology contractor.


Shops selling non-essential goods are told to close. Gatherings of more than two people are banned. Vulnerable groups are told to self-isolate for 12 weeks.


Southeastern announces a reduced train service.


Dentists close due to lack of PPE.


Play areas across Swale close.


Faversham's Happy Endings rescue centre appeals for donations to keep animals fed.


Tuesday 24 March


The UK hospital death toll jumps to 422, the biggest daily increase yet.


London's tube trains are still crowded.


Swale Borough Council closes all offices and children's centres but its traffic wardens still ticket cars.


Kent County Council closes its recycling centres, including Faversham's Salters Lane site.


Doctors' and nurses' organisations warn NHS staff may threaten to quit over PPE shortages.


The Government launches an appeal for 250,000 NHS volunteers.


A new field hospital called the Nightingale is prepared at London's Excel Centre


Testing for the disease reaches about 6,500 a day. It will not reach 25,000 until mid-April, admits the Government.


Wetherspoon employees are told they will not be paid now pubs are closed. Their boss Tim Martin suggests his 40,000 staff should 'go to work at Tesco'.

Wednesday 25 March

The Government's new Coronavirus Act gives authorities powers unheard of in a peacetime democracy.


Prince Charles tests positive for the virus. Tests are still not available for NHS staff.


Just 5,700 tests are being carried out per day. The Government says it is “massively increasing” testing.


The Government says coronavirus home-testing kits – which indicate past infection – will be available “soon”.


Doctors criticise the Government's decision not to join a EU scheme to procure ventilators.

A GP magazine poll shows GPs feel “betrayed”, with more than four in five saying PPE is inadequate.


Half a million people have applied for Universal Credit in the last nine days. The Government says 405,000 people have signed up to be NHS volunteers.


After 400,000 sign a petition, hospital car parking charges are suspended for all NHS and social care staff – including workers at Ashford, Canterbury and Margate hospitals – for two months.


The Faversham Hop Festival is cancelled.


Off-licences are added to the list of essential shops allowed to remain open.


NHS workers set up a charity appeal to buy their own PPE.

staff – including workers at Ashford, Canterbury and Margate hospitals – for two months.

Thursday 26 March


Hospitals report 115 UK deaths in the last 24 hours. In London, medics are facing a “continuous tsunami” of seriously-ill patients, says NHS Providers.


Frontline medical staff are forced to share masks. NHS PPE supplies are so poor that TV medical dramas including Casualty and school science labs donate protective equipment. Schools in Ashford give their kit to the William Harvey Hospital.


Nationally, at least 30,000 ventilators are needed. Just 8,000 are available now.


Boris Johnson is accused of “putting Brexit before Breathing” by snubbing an EU ventilator-sourcing scheme. Number 10 claims an 'email went astray'.


After ignoring an offer of 5,000 medical ventilators from a UK supplier, the Government orders 10,000 yet-to-be-built-or-tested ventilators from vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson, a Conservative party donor.


The British Medical Association says the Government's 'illogical' lack of testing means NHS staff are self-isolating unnecessarily.


Around the country people clap the NHS from their doorsteps. Faversham MP Helen Whately – who voted against a nurses pay rise in 2017 – tweets that she too will applaud “our frontline heroes”.


Police are given powers to fine (£60) or arrest people breaking lockdown rules. Some forces set up roadblocks to check people are on 'essential journeys' and use drones to chase walkers.


Social services advise vulnerable groups to sign up for online delivery services but supermarket sites crash and refuse to take on new customers.


The Covid-19 Mutual Aid Faversham group now has 93 volunteers supporting self-isolating neighbours in 104 streets – 40 percent of the town.


Faversham firefighters work with Age UK to deliver hot meals to people in need.


Faversham brewer Shepherd Neame puts 1,300 staff on 'furlough', under the Government's coronavirus job retention scheme.


Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin agrees to pay his employees after lawyers step in to help them.


Banks insist on personal guarantees to issue government-backed emergency loans to business owners.


Britain's five million self-employed are told to wait until June before receiving coronavirus help.

Friday 27 March


News cameras film the prime minister’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, fleeing from Downing Street as Boris Johnson announces both he and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have tested positive for coronavirus. Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, is self-isolating.


The editor of the Lancet, Richard Horton, calls the crisis a 'national scandal' and says the NHS board should “resign in their entirety” once it is over.

Saturday 28 March


A leading doctor in South Korea – which was testing 10,000 people a day within a week of its first confirmed case – describes the UK Government's initial 'herd immunity” strategy as “a cautionary tale”. “It was unthinkable for a government to put out such nonsense,” said Dr Min Pok-kee.

Sunday 29 March


The Sunday Telegraph reports an official drill carried out three years ago exposed 'terrifying' gaps in Britain’s pandemic response. Exercise Cygnus warned of a shortage of critical care beds, ventilators and protective kit but the Government refused to act, instead suppressing the conclusions.


The UK hospital death toll reaches 1,228. Three NHS consultants and one nurse are on ventilators in intensive care units.


Public anger grows as just 5,000 tests a day are carried out.


Food delivery company Ocado spends £1.5m buying 100,000 Covid-19 testing kits for its staff, offering them to the NHS if required.


Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt calls for mass testing. The pandemic now has killed over 30,000 people worldwide.


Swale Borough Council receives complaints as it announces delays in waste collection.


Faversham Medical Practice's Dr Gaurav Gupta tweets: "Time for senior NHS leaders/managers (CEOs, COOs) to do regular frontline shifts in same PPE they are getting for staff Can’t see a better way to show solidarity & prove PPE is safe? Can you?"

Monday 30 March


The UK hospital death count passes 1,400.


A total of 16 people have died in Kent after testing positive, with confirmed cases in the county now over 350. East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust – made up of William Harvey, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Kent & Canterbury, Buckland and the Royal Victoria hospitals – has seen six deaths.


Without proper PPE, NHS staff fear catching coronavirus and spreading it to the public. At the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, surgeons and operating theatre staff are issued with re-labelled four-year-old masks.


Faversham's MP and health minister Helen Whately is questioned on LBC radio about yesterday's Sunday Telegraph 'Exercise Cygnus' expose. She appears to know nothing about it, leaving host Nick Ferrari 'staggered'.


Globally, cases pass three quarters of a million with more than 35,000 deaths.


A crowd funder set up by Dr Salaj Masand from the William Harvey Hospital and three others to buy protective gear for frontline NHS workers raises £1.1 million in four days.


Faversham Tesco staff are disinfecting trolleys and allowing in one person per household. With panic buying subsiding, the town's stores are now better stocked.

Tuesday 31 March


A 13-year-old boy becomes the UK's youngest coronavirus victim as the hospital death toll reaches 1,808.


US President Donald Trump describes Britain's initial "herd immunity" strategy as "catastrophic”. "I guess it's a concept if you don't mind death, a lot of death,” he says.


The World Bank warns of 'unprecedented shock' as global confirmed cases pass 800,000.


Doctors and nurses speaking out about the lack of PPE are threatened with the sack.


The Home Office extends the visas of medical staff from overseas so they can “focus on fighting coronavirus”.


Only 8,240 people are tested for the virus today. At this rate it will take 22 years to test everyone in the UK. Germany is testing 70,000 a day.


The Government's Michael Gove blames the lack of testing on a shortage of "chemical reagents". The UK chemicals industry denies any such shortage.


Police are already abusing their new powers. Forces issue summonses to households shopping for non-essential items, tell people exercise is “limited to an hour a day” and ban shops from selling Easter eggs. Retired Supreme Court Judge Lord Sumption says: “This is what a police state is like.”


A Faversham family's lockdown-themed version of a Les Misérables song goes viral. The video by Ben and Danielle Marsh and children Alfie, Thomas Ella and Tess gets 400,000 views on Facebook, leading to an appearance on ITV's This Morning.

Wednesday 1 April


Today's hospital death toll is 563 – the worst recorded yet – making a total of 2,352 lives lost.


The Government admits only 30 new British-built ventilators will be delivered to the NHS next week. Vacuum cleaner firm Dyson has so far provided none. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick tells Sky News "We have over 12,000 ventilators at the moment". An hour later he tells BBC Breakfast: "The number of ventilators, which is 8,000 in the NHS today, will increase very significantly." He later claims 15,000 people will be tested per day by the end of the week. Meanwhile Germany is carrying out half a million tests each week.


Intensive care for coronavirus patients is now rationed to those 'reasonably certain' to survive


More than 10,000 NHS staff write to Boris Johnson demanding better protection. Volunteers with Faversham's Repair Cafe sew scrubs for NHS workers.


The government admits only 2,000 NHS staff – just 0.15% of the 1.3 million workforce – have been tested. The Daily Mail calls the lack of testing an “unforgivable shambles".


One million people have applied for Universal Credit over the last week.


In the past 15 days, NHS 111 has responded to more than 1.7 million inquiries from people concerned they might have Covid-19 symptoms.


Kent County Council removes a banner from railings on Station Road advertising Faversham Town Council's community helpline after a member of the public complains.


Swale Borough Council prompts more complaints as it suspends garden waste collections temporarily.

Thursday 2 April


Worldwide confirmed cases pass a million, with more than 50,000 dead.


The official UK hospital death total is now 2,921 with a further 569 deaths over the last 24 hours.


Kent nurse Aimee O'Rourke, 39, dies from the virus at the QEQM Hospital in Margate, leaving three daughters.


Health Secretary Matthew Hancock says ‘some nurses’ have died due to Covid-19 but their deaths are not being counted. Deprived of proper PPE, many are putting themselves at risk rather than ration care to patients.


To date four NHS doctors have lost their lives to the virus.


Boris Johnson tests positive with “only minor symptoms”.


Multiple reports suggest the slow rate of testing is due to the government pursuing its "herd immunity" strategy until it was too late.


Some 18 days after Boris Johnson promised 250,000 tests a day, the Government is now “setting a goal” for 100,000 daily by the end of April.


Covid-19 immunity home testing kits – described as "game changers" by Boris Johnson – are not yet available, weeks after the Government claimed to have purchased them.


Royal Mail workers in Chatham walk out in protest against the company's lack of coronavirus safety measures.


Doctors' surgeries create a new two-tier system for seeing patients face-to-face with ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ facilities for those with and without Covid symptoms.


Construction begins on a drive-through ‘hot hub’ at Estuary View Medical Centre in Whitstable.

Friday 3 April


Global cases pass one million. Confirmed Kent cases rise to 621.


A total of 3,605 coronavirus patients have died in UK hospitals, up by 684 since yesterday.


London's new Nightingale field hospital opens.


Passengers are still arriving at UK airports without being tested. Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick says temperature checks only detect “a minority of cases”.


With good weekend weather forecast, Kent councils warn residents to avoid popular spots.


Health Secretary Matthew Hancock says around 1,500 frontline healthcare staff are being tested daily. Asked about the long-promised antibody testing kits, he admits: "I haven’t actually pencilled any in…we so far haven’t found one that works."


More than two weeks after the Government announced its £350 billion aid package, only 1,000 businesses have accessed loans out of 130,000 enquiries.


Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley warns people spitting at emergency workers could get up to two years in prison under new legislation.


Air pollution levels fall dramatically as the outbreak reduces UK road traffic to 1955 levels.


Saturday 4 April


A five-year-old girl becomes the youngest victim to die of coronavirus in England. She was among 708 people who have died in UK hospitals over the past 24 hours. In Kent, total hospital deaths rise to 33.

Data indicates UK deaths will overtake Italy and Spain.


Herd immunity should be reconsidered, says Boris Johnson's senior advisor Professor Graham Medley, who suggests prioritising the young over the old.


Mobile phone masts are torched, amid internet conspiracy theories that 5G spreads coronavirus.


Police use loudhailers to disperse sunbathers in London parks.


Doctors say cancer patients are missing out on vital treatment due to the outbreak.


The Government’s promised antibody tests are now unlikely to be ready until June. Manufacturers are “mystified" by suggestions they will be available soon, reports the Telegraph.


Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick is caught visiting his parents after telling the public to stay at home.

Sunday 5 April


UK confirmed hospital deaths rise 555 to 4,494. Globally, confirmed cases pass 1.2 million. Daily death tolls are slowing in Italy, Spain and France.


The NHS still has fewer than 10,000 ventilators. Dyson has still not delivered a single machine. The Government revises its 30,000 ventilator target down to 18,000.


Three nurses have died from Covid-19.


The PPE scandal continues. Doctors report reusing single-use surgical masks or holding their breath during procedures, while nurses wear bin liners to protect themselves.


The Government warns outdoor exercise may be banned.


The World Bank warns of an impending global recession.


Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg's investment firm is accused of profiteering, describing the pandemic as an opportunity to make “super normal returns”.


The Queen broadcasts to the nation, comparing the coronavirus crisis with World War Two.


There have been 123 reported deaths at East Kent Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, which includes William Harvey, Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother and Kent and Canterbury hospitals.

Monday 6 April


Boris Johnson is moved to intensive care at London's St Thomas' hospital after his condition reportedly deteriorates.


The total national hospital death toll is now 4,934. In Kent, 70 people have died in hospital from coronavirus, including 22 at East Kent Hospitals Trust. KCC builds a 1,000 square metre temporary mortuary near Aylesford.


The EU approves a £50 billion “umbrella” aid scheme to support British companies.

Tuesday 7 April


With the daily hospital death toll at 786, the Government says we could be “moving in the right direction”.


A leaked Home Office conference call reveals the Government's virus plan is “managing it within the population”. Recordings obtained by Byline Times, suggest a strategy indistinguishable from ‘herd immunity’.


Despite local staff shortages, Kent's frontline nurses may be transferred to London’s Nightingale Hospital as patients from the county's hospitals are sent there for treatment, according to the Health Service Journal.

Wednesday 8 April


Founder of Canterbury's Steiner School Ulrike Brockman, 89, dies from Covid-19 at Faversham Cottage Hospital.


As 938 people die in 24 hours, BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis attacks “trite and misleading” official language around the virus, saying: “You do not survive the illness through fortitude and strength of character whatever the prime minister’s colleagues will tell us.”


Tesco takes £600 million of taxpayers' money in coronavirus rates relief, then pays out £900 million to its shareholders in dividends.

Thursday 9 April


MPs are allowed to claim an extra £10,000 in expenses to help them work from home during the crisis.


A hospital consultant who pleaded to Boris Johnson for more personal protective equipment for frontline staff has died from the virus.


It is revealed that one London hedge fund made £2.4 billion betting on the global economic shutdown.


A further 16 Covid patients have died in Kent, with 54 days in the last three days.


As Faversham once again claps for NHS workers, a mystery singer performs Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World.


Friday 10 April


Faversham's GP surgeries and pharmacies remain open over the Bank Holiday weekend.


Boris Johnson leaves intensive care as the UK hospital death toll reaches 8,958. At 980 deaths, the UK records its highest UK daily toll. Italy's highest daily death toll was 919; Spain's 950.


Home Secretary Priti Patel quietly publishes plans for a crackdown on ‘low skilled’ immigration, ignoring pleas from care homes and healthcare providers.


Turkey announces a shipment of 250,000 items of protective equipment is being sent to the UK.


With 19 NHS staff now dead and the disease approaching a peak, Health Secretary Matthew Hancock suggests doctors, nurses and care workers are unnecessarily using too much PPE, saying: “We need everyone to treat PPE like the precious resource that it is."

Saturday 11 April

With public anger growing over Hancock’s PPE comments, the British Medical Association says “it's not misuse if they don't have any”. More than half of doctors in a BMA survey reported a shortage or no supply of face masks.


The Royal College of Nursing's chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair tells the BBC no PPE is "more precious a resource than a healthcare worker's life, a nurse's life, a doctor's life”.


Opposition leader Keir Starmer Tweets: “It is quite frankly insulting to imply frontline staff are wasting PPE.”


The global coronavirus death toll has now topped 100,000 with 500,000 confirmed cases in the US.


The UK hospital death toll rises by 917 to 9,875.


More than three million people in Britain are going hungry because of the crisis, according to research from The Food Foundation.


Germany's army donates 60 ventilators to the NHS.


Faversham Medical Practice's Dr Gaurav Gupta tweets: "Dear @MattHancock if we promise to not use your ‘precious’ PPE more than it is needed will you send some please?"

Sunday 12 April


Britain becomes the fifth country to surpass 10,000 official deaths, joining the US, Spain, Italy and France.


Amid growing concern over official statistics, a former Public Health England expert says the Government is coming ‘very close to lies’ over Covid death figures warning 'twice as many' have been killed.


The Government admits just 1.4 percent of businesses that enquired about its coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) have been successful.


On Twitter Faversham MP Helen Whately defends Matthew Hancock's suggestion that medics are wasting PPE, joining what appears to be an orchestrated Conservative attack on Keir Starmer.


Over the last 24 hours, 18,000 tests have been carried out in the UK.

Monday 13 April


UK hospital deaths top 11,000 with 697 dead since yesterday as the Government warns infection has “not yet passed the peak”. Health workers are wrapping bodies in sheets as body bags run out, reports the BBC.


Boris Johnson travels to prime ministerial second home Chequers to recover.


Kent hospitals report six deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the county's total to 196.


A 'hot' assessment site for patients with Covid symptoms is constructed in the car park of Faversham's Newton Place Surgery.


A national shortage of long sleeved gowns is putting frontline medical staff at risk.


UK-based academics say about half of all Covid-19 deaths appear to be happening in care homes in European countries. Many UK care home deaths are not being added to official coronavirus toll.


Age UK says coronavirus is "running wild" in care homes. "The current figures are airbrushing older people out like they don't matter," says the charity's director Caroline Abrahams.


None of the new ventilators developed after Matthew Hancock tweeted a plea to British industry have been approved for use. Machines made by Formula One group are found unsuitable and scrapped.


Dr Alison Pittard of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine says the government’s specifications produced machines that would only treat patients “for a few hours”. “If we had been told that that was the case… we’d have said: ‘Don’t bother, you’re wasting your time.'”


Professor Helen Ward, of the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London, says the Government recklessly allowed tens of thousands of people to catch coronavirus. She warns ministers "there will be a reckoning, and it will not be forgiving".

Tuesday 14 April


The Governent's promised 25,000 tests per day by mid-April have not materialised. Fewer than 15,000 coronavirus tests were carried out on Easter Monday and 16,000 today. Matthew Hancock claims the lack of testing is down to “not enough demand”.

Wednesday 15 April


Faversham MP and Care Minister Helen Whately smirks and laughs on Good Morning Britain while questioned about 4,000 deaths of elderly people in care homes.


Matthew Hancock is widely ridiculed as he 'unveils' a badge for carers who are begging him for protective equipment and testing. In reality the badges were launched more than a year ago by social care organisations to recognise the UK's 8.6 million paid and informal carers in response to social care secretary Hancock only wearing the NHS lapel badge. Asked by the BBC if she will wear the badge, one carer says: “No, they are being sold for £8.99 and my wage is only £8.75 an hour.”



Thursday 16 April


After the Government outsources PPE procurement to multinational consultancy Deloitte, UK textiles firms desperate to make protective kit for the NHS say the Government is ignoring their offers in favour of of brand names such as Burberry.


As hospital deaths reach 13,729, Downing Street claims coronavirus crisis strengthens the need for UK to be free of EU regulation after 2020.


Matthew Hancock says there have been 27 verified deaths of NHS staff while Nursing Notes website lists 56 health and social care workers who have died from coronavirus on its online memorial.


Captain Tom Moore, the 99-year-old veteran has raised £17 million for NHS charities by completing 100 laps of his garden.


The Government finally admits the millions of “game-changing” coronavirus antigen tests it bought for £16 million do not work.


Ministers suggest social distancing measures may remain in force for months. Met Police chief Cressida Dick joins crowds ignoring social distancing rules to clap for the NHS on Westminster Bridge, angering frontline health workers.


Damir Rafi, a doctor at St Thomas' Hospital, overlooking Westminster Bridge, tweets: “When you keep voting for people that continue to make the lives of NHS staff worse and worse, perhaps your claps don't really mean much?”


Faversham's repair cafe reports 11 laundry bags made for frontline NHS workers scrubs have been given to Newton Place and 110 bags have been given to Kent NHS ambulance crews. Another 159 bags and 98 scrubs hats are being distributed to NHS hospitals, care homes, hospices and GP surgeries.

Friday 17 April


As the hospital death toll rises from 847 to 14,576, NHS management asks doctors and nurses to treat Covid-19 patients without wearing protective full-length gowns – reversing guidance from Public Health England – as hospitals come within hours of running out of supplies.


The Government says the 'scientific advice' on which it claims to have based its coronavirus policies will remain secret until the pandemic ends.


After years of demonising immigrants, the Daily Mail publishes a story headlined “Romanians to the rescue” about a group of Eastern Europeans flying to the UK to help pick fruit, praising the “critically important” EU workers here to “save the UK’s harvest”.


The UK infection rate is 'frightening' EU leaders and the World Health Organisation calls Britain's rise to 103,000 cases a 'dark cloud'.

Saturday 18 April


As hospital deaths exceed 15,000, Matthew Hancock admits at least 15,000 people a day are flying into the UK without medical checks. Around 105,000 passengers a week are arriving from countries including US, China, Spain and Italy.


A newly announced ‘very large’ shipment of PPE is only likely to last the health service three days, the Government admits.


UK manufacturers including Burberry who have retooled to make PPE for carers are having their stock shorted by hedge funds.


Matthew Hancock is urged to “consider his position” over his PPE

failures. Faith in the health secretary is “draining away”, say health unions as NHS staff re-use PPE and wear aprons to treat coronavirus patients. Kent GPs condemn the 'shambolic' lack of personal protective equipment being issued to frontline NHS staff in a letter from the Kent Local Medical Committee to Faversham MP and health minister Helen Whately and other MPs.


A total of 339 people have died from coronavirus in Kent's hospitals.

Sunday 19 April


As the global death toll passes 160,000, the UK hospital death toll rises to 16,060.


Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England, tells journalists to have “a more adult, and more detailed conversation” about PPE shortages. Meanwhile France doubles face mask production from 4 million to 8 million a week.


Germany and Norway ease their lockdowns while France and Spain continue restrictions


The UK Government is under pressure over its handling of the pandemic after the Sunday Times reports Boris Johnson missed five meetings of the government’s Cobra emergency committee. Michael Gove claims it was normal for Cobra to be chaired by a secretary of state.

Monday 20 April


Tax exile billionaire Sir Richard Branson warns his airline Virgin Atlantic may not survive without a £500 million bailout from UK taxpayers, offering his Caribbean island Necker as collateral.


Responding to yesterday's Government comments, the Doctors’ Association says: “Doctors have indeed been having both ‘adult and detailed conversations’ about the sheer lack of personal protective equipment for months, all of which have fallen on deaf ears.”


Unison, the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives call for a minute’s silence to honour all workers who have died from coronavirus.At least 100 health and care workers have now died of coronavirus, according to healthcare professionals' web platform Nursing Notes. The government has publicly verified only 27 deaths of NHS staff.

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