COVID-19: a Global pandemic 2020

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan in China. On March 11th 2020, The World Health Organisation declared a public health emergency.  The UK entered its first lockdown on March 23rd 2020 with a stay at home order for all but essential travel. Schools shut. In Glasgow, a temporary nightingale hospital, NHS Louisa Jordan, was assembled at the SEC. The peak of the first wave was in early April and lockdown was gradually eased over June and July. Cases rose significantly when schools were re-opened and new tiered restrictions were introduced in Scotland in October 2020. In December 2020, a new variant ‘The UK variant’ was identified – more infectious and more deadly. Other followed: the South African and the Brazil variant. There was a brief easing of restrictions for Christmas 2020 and the UK went back into lockdown on 26th December 2020. All schools were once again closed. Testing and quarantine rules were imposed on all incoming travellers only in late January 2021. Genetic sequencing has traced most cases of COVID-19 in the UK to imported cases from Europe; Italy, France and Spain, and not directly from China. 

The UK was the first country to authorise vaccination and on December 8th 2020, the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was administered, outwith a trial, to Margaret Keenan, a 90 year old from Coventry.   

There was controversy when the UK’s Joint Committee on vaccinations and immunisations (JCVI) decided to delay the second dose of the vaccine to up to 12 weeks from the first dose, rather than administering it within three weeks as recommended by the manufacturer.

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