UK Covid-19 Timeline

This is a timeline about events in the Covid-19 pandemic which may have impacted people who are vulnerable to, or already experiencing, a forced marriage in the UK. It includes key restrictions on relevant activity, such as holding weddings or on households mixing, and traveling (within, and outside, the four nations of the UK). We also recorded other restrictions, such as school-closures and “stay at home” orders, which may have made it harder for those at risk to access help and support, or for those with safeguarding responsibilities to spot signs of risk. For context, we have also included some other information, for instance about case rates. Thus, this is not a comprehensive list of all relevant, Covid-related events or restrictions. It does not include everything we found which might be relevant for forced marriage risk, just what seemed most important for inclusion on a useable and informative timeline. This said, we hope it gives a sense of the potential impact of Covid-19 on people already experiencing, or at risk of, a forced marriage. It may also be useful to other researchers and people interested in the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, as the restrictions and events recorded impacted the whole community. ;xNLx;;xNLx;Authors:;xNLx;;xNLx;Dr Naomi Lott;xNLx;Fiona Collins-Taylor;xNLx;Hannah Coggins;xNLx;Dr Rumana Hashem;xNLx;Dr Helen McCabe

2019-12-01 00:00:00

First patient in Wuhan

Earliest symptom onset date of first patient admitted to hospital in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and identified as suffering from novel Coronavirus.

2019-12-31 00:00:00


WHO is informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

2020-01-22 19:40:15


First Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) regarding Covid-19

2020-01-24 00:00:00

First meeting of COBRA

First meeting of UK Civil Contingencies Committee (Cobra) on Covid-19.

2020-01-28 00:00:00

First UK Case

First recorded case of person-to-person transmission of Covid-19 in UK (Hull). The first person to fall ill had recently returned from Wuhan.

2020-01-30 00:00:00

WHO declares PHEIC

Following recommendations of the Emergency Committee, the WHO Director-General declared that the outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

2020-01-30 00:00:00

Chinese nationals hospitalised abroad

Two Chinese nationals visiting York taken to hospital.

2020-01-30 00:00:00

UK risk level

UK Chief Medical Officers recommend increase in UK risk level from "low" to "moderate". They advise Westminster and devolved governments "to escalate planning and preparation in case of a more widespread outbreak".

2020-01-31 00:00:00

First cases in England

Chief Medical Office confirms first two cases in England.

2020-01-31 00:00:00

Covid-19 overtakes SARS

The number of Covid-19 cases worldwide overtakes those of the SARS epidemic in 2003.

2020-02-11 00:00:00

Naming of coronavirus disease "Covid-19"

"Novel Coronavirus" first offically named Covid-19.

2020-02-23 00:00:00

Rising UK cases

UK cases surpass 10, with four new cases associated with the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship bringing the total to 13.

2020-02-26 00:00:00

Nike conference outbreak

Outbreak associated with a Nike conference in Edinburgh. 8 residents of Scotland were among the 25 reported cases.

2020-02-27 00:00:00

First cases in Northern Ireland

First cases reported in Northern Ireland.

2020-02-28 00:00:00

First case in Wales

First Confirmed case in Wales confirmed (linked to an outbreak on the cruise ship Diamond Princess)

2020-03-01 00:00:00

First case in Scotland

First official confirmation of a case in Scotland.

2020-03-02 00:00:00

First death recorded

First death in England.

2020-03-03 00:00:00

UK Govt. unveils action plans

UK Government unveils “Coronavirus Action Plan”. The UK is described as “well-prepared”. Four stages of response were outlined: “Contain”, “Delay”, “Research” and “Mitigate”.

2020-03-04 00:00:00

Scotland cases

Scotland cases surpass 10, with total at 13.

2020-03-05 00:00:00

UK cases rising

UK reach over 100 cases, with total cases at 114.

2020-03-07 00:00:00

Global cases surpass 100,000

Number of confirmed cases globally surpasses 100,000.

2020-03-10 00:00:00

WHO declares pandemic

WHO makes the assessment that the Covid-19 outbreak should be called a pandemic

2020-03-10 00:00:00

England Death Toll passes 10

England reach over 10 deaths, with total at 14.

2020-03-12 00:00:00

Scotland cases surpass 100

Scotland cases surpass 100, with total at 131.

2020-03-12 00:00:00

First Scotland covid death

Scotland records its first death.

2020-03-12 00:00:00

Moderate to High

UK Government announces they are moving from “contain” to “delay” phase of response. UK Chief Medical Officers raise the risk from “moderate” to “high”.

2020-03-13 00:00:00

Europe declared epicentre

Director General of WHO says Europe has become the epicentre of the pandemic.

2020-03-14 00:00:00

UK cases surpass 1000

UK cases over 1000, with total at 1061

2020-03-15 00:00:00

UK deaths exceed 100

UK deaths exceed 100, with total at 108. England deaths at 105.

2020-03-16 00:00:00

PM advises against non-essential travel

Prime Minister advises everyone in the UK against “non-essential travel”, and suggests people avoid pubs, theatres and clubs, and work from home if possible. Last accessed 7.5.21.;

2020-03-16 00:00:00

'unnecessary social contact should cease'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP, tells the House of Commons that all unnecessary social contact should cease.

2020-03-16 00:00:00

Wales record 3 deaths

First deaths in Wales, totalling 3.

2020-03-16 00:00:00

Scotland to minimise social contact

The First Minister of Scotland requests all people to minimise social contact (avoid public areas/transport/work from home when possible etc.).

2020-03-17 00:00:00

Non-essential overseas travel

Foreign Office advises against all non-essential overseas travel.

2020-03-17 00:00:00

OFSTED inspections

OFSTED inspections of schools (in England) suspended.

2020-03-18 00:00:00

Nationwide school closure

Welsh Minister for Education, Scotland’s First Minister, and UK Prime Minister all announce schools will close at the end of Friday 20 March. Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers announce schools in the country will close that very day to pupils, and from 23 March to staff. Nurseries; primary and secondary schools; and Further Education colleges all close for in-person teaching or care, except for the children of key workers and child considered vulnerable. Guidance from the Department for Education states that “vulnerable children and young people” include those who are assessed as being “in need” under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 including those with a child protection plan. “Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with appropriate care”.

2020-03-18 00:00:00

Northern Ireland records first death

First death in Northern Ireland recorded.

2020-03-20 00:00:00

Schools close

Schools close.

2020-03-20 00:00:00

Scotland death surpass 10

Scotland deaths reach over 10, totalling 14.

2020-03-21 00:00:00

Deaths in England surpass 1000

England deaths reach over 1000, totalling 1095.

2020-03-22 00:00:00

Global cases double

Global coronavirus cases double from the last week reaching almost 330,000 cases.

2020-03-23 00:00:00

"Stay at Home" is announced

Prime Minister announces a “stay at home” order, lasting three weeks, in a television broadcast. The restrictions announced have become known as “lockdown”. Among other things, all weddings were stopped with immediate effect; people had to "stay at home", and not leave without "a reasonable excuse". These included "to access critical services (e.g. childcare/education where permitted, social services, services for victims of crime etc.)" and "to avoid injury or illness or to escape harm". Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also went into ‘lockdown’.

2020-03-23 00:00:00

British nationals adviced to return home

Foreign Office advises all British Nationals to return to the UK now.

2020-03-24 00:00:00

UK deaths surpass 1000

UK deaths exceed 1000, with total at 1175. England deaths at 1095.

2020-03-25 00:00:00

Scotland cases surpass 1000

Scotland reaches over 1000 cases, with total at 1082.

2020-03-26 00:00:00

UK cases over 10,000

UK cases over 10,000, with total at 11,658.

2020-03-26 00:00:00


"Lockdown" restrictions became law in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. Corresponding regulations came into force for Scotland (27th March), Northern Ireland (28th March), and Wales (26th March 2020).

2020-03-29 14:01:38

Scotland death toll exceeds 100

Deaths in Scotland exceed 100, totalling 119.

2020-03-31 00:00:00

Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline

31 March 2020: Scottish First Minister highlights availability of Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline in her coronavirus statement.

2020-04-02 00:00:00

Global cases surpass one million

Global cases pass one million.

UK Covid-19 Timeline

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