UK’s first confirmation of coronavirus cases came on January 29th when two individuals from China fell sick at the Staycity Aparthotel in York. They both were staying in a hotel in the city of York and one of them studied at the University of York. A few days, on February 6th, a business was confirmed to be the 2nd case. He had recently travelled to high-infectious places like France and Singapore and developed the symptoms while he was staying in Brighton. Six relatives with whom he stayed also got infected with the virus. The super spreader reached to 11 more people in the UK in the following week of which, 4 cases were from Brighton. At that time, coronavirus had already spread to over 26 countries.
The first person who contracted the disease in the UK was reported on February 28. He had not travelled outside the country and lived in Surrey. On 5th March, UK confirms its first death, a British citizen who contracted the infection while she was travelling on a cruise ship. She was in her seventies and by this time, the total number of positive cases had reached a hundred. In the following weeks, the positives had grown at an alarming rate. By the end of March, the situation had become out of control as the death toll was 1789 and positive cases were 18024. Dominic Cummings was reported to experience the virus’ symptoms and was kept in complete isolation during the same time.
The UK government following the advice given by NHS published a statement of guidance which is basically a strategy consisting of four phases. The first stage in this battle plan is to contain and starts with detecting symptoms of the virus from an early stage including positive cases. It becomes important to isolate them so as to prevent the infection from taking hold. The second stage is delay where the aim is to reduce the speed at which coronavirus is spreading. Additionally, it also involves pushing the peak impact away from the winter season.
The third stage is research and this aims at pumping more money into research to help better understand the virus. Further steps include finding out measures against the virus that will reduce its impact on the population of the UK. This will also give space to new innovations in vaccines, diagnostics, drugs, and other models of care that the NHS can deploy. The fourth and final stage is mitigate. The healthcare officials aim to provide a better care for the British citizens who fall ill. With the help of innovative measures, they also aim to reduce the overall impact of the virus on society as well as the economy as a whole.
The British Government used the slogan, ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’, in its numerous public health campaigns. It was proposed by the National Health Service. The message recommended people to carry tissues and use them while coughing and sneezing. Every germ has the potential to stay alive for several hours. Hence, the tissues must be disposed of soon after using them. It is important to wash the hands to prevent the germs from spreading to every surface you touch. NHS pasted these messages on a poster on the windows, street lamps, billboards, chemist shops, essential items shops and more. If a greater number of people are absorbing the message and following it, then the campaign is serving its purpose.
The NHS made it compulsory to use these posters at workplaces and primary care. In England, the NHS discharged patients who were well enough and did not require further emergency care. This way it was able to free up more than 29972 beds for coronavirus patients. Across the UK, an additional capacity equating to 21824 beds was created. NHS England established the NHS Nightingale Hospital London and it had more than 4000 beds and in the following weeks, it would establish more NHS Nightingale Hospitals across the UK. This will cost millions of pounds but will help the NHS staff in dealing with the growing number of cases. The newly established NHS hospital already started receiving patients who tested positive and was open to cater to the following waves of infected people.
The People from all over the UK took part in the Clap for Carers event, which was focused on honouring the NHS healthcare workers, delivery drivers, bin collectors, and other key workers doing their duties dealing with the coronavirus. To show their support, people gathered on their doorsteps, balconies, and gardens and banged their utensils, played the bagpipes, and clapped. In addition, the NHS staff and emergency workers such as firemen also joined in the applause and marked their tribute by clapping for the brave hearts. Several celebrities also supported the campaign by clapping out on their windows and balconies to salute the NHS workers. The ‘clap for cares’ is an event that saw the participation of millions of people.
Some of them also played musical instruments, rang bells, set off fireworks and cheered for the NHS staff. It was launched on March 26 and takes place every Thursday at 8 pm. The key workers who received this appreciation also include armed services, teachers, garbage collectors, vets, postal workers, and cleaners. Some of the notable building across the UK were lit up. For the NHS staff and healthcare workers, all the supermarkets in the UK, for example, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, have defined dedicated hours in which they can shop conveniently.
In Glasgow, many taxi drivers had started offering fare-free rides to NHS staff. Additionally, the Government had started providing the free vehicle parking facility to the NHS hospital staff. All this was done as a part of a salute to the NHS workers and other key workers. A number of landmarks have been illuminated blue as part of the event, including the London Eye, Lincoln Cathedral, and Wembley Stadium, as a sign of gratitude to the NHS, with the hashtag #LightItBlue trending on Twitter.
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