One year ago: The first ever coronavirus story we wrote in January 2020
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A year ago today the East Anglian Daily Times published its first coronavirus story - just four days before the first case of the deadly virus was confirmed in the UK.
The story, published on January 27 2020, came a few days after the threat level of the virus was increased by the health secretary Matt Hancock from 'very low' to 'low'.
It revealed that the University of Essex, which has a campus in Colchester, was in "close contact" with the government's health department amid the coronavirus outbreak - now known widely as Covid-19.
At the time of reporting just 26 people had died in China from coronavirus - where the disease was first detected - with more than 800 confirmed cases in the country.
In the UK, 14 people had been tested for the virus as of January 27, all of which were negative.
The university - which has hundreds of its UK-based students coming from China - confirmed it was in contact with Public Health England (PHE) and it was sharing information and advice provided with its university community.
When did coronavirus arrive in the UK?
A few days later, on January 31, two people from the same family tested positive for coronavirus in York.
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The Chinese nationals were guests at the Staycity apartment-hotel, before being taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
This was the beginning of the pandemic that has swept through our nation, turning our idea of every day life upside down and claiming more than 101,000 lives.
On February 14, 2020, we reported that Felixstowe port authorities had screened people on vessels to ensure no-one had been infected with coronavirus.
In the coming days reports were published about suspected cases in Suffolk, after a number of patients walked into GP surgeries with symptoms and were quarantined and tested as a result.
The first confirmed case of the disease in Suffolk was announced on March 9, when Public Health England had only confirmed 319 cases nationally since the outbreak began.
From there, cases continued to soar and tragically deaths began to be recorded. The lockdown was only introduced in the UK in March, but really it had already began its deadly journey towards the end of 2019.
Now, more than a year on, Boris Johnson has confirmed that schools will not return after February half-term like planned, but instead a much safer date of March 8 as deaths continue to rise.
UK citizens are four weeks in to the country's third national lockdown and have still not been able to hug their loved ones since the first raft of restrictions.
UK chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has today said that with one in 55 people currently estimated to have coronavirus, the country remains in a “difficult position”.
The government said a further 1,725 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday, bringing the UK total to 101,887.
It's hard to imagine that almost one year ago there were only two cases and no deaths - a devastating cry from where we are now.
However, with the successful start to the national vaccine rollout - albeit some teething issues in Suffolk - we have hope of brighter days. And lots of hugs.