Year ago , Hancock said elderly would have to stay home for 4 months

Countdown to Lockdown: A year ago today, Matt Hancock said elderly would have to stay home for four months and warned of ventilator crisis while Donald Trump said: ‘Relax, it all will pass’

  • Britain rallied together to mourn the death of the then-youngest Covid-19 patient, Nick Matthews, 59
  • Country’s Covid death toll had hit 35 following 14 new fatalities – with 1,372 cases since the crisis began
  • In warning about how serious pandemic was becoming, Hancock said NHS didn’t have enough ventilators
  • Concerns not mirrored in US, where Trump, who was blasted for pandemic response, told people to ‘relax’

A year ago today, Britain rallied together to mourn the death of its then-youngest Covid-19 victim – as Britons saw a glimpse of the devastation to come. 

Father-of-two Nick Matthews, 59 – a retired policeman – had died one day earlier in Bristol Royal Infirmary – with his heartbroken wife describing him as her ‘life partner and soul mate’.

That same day, the country’s Covid death toll had increased by 14 overnight – bringing the total to 35 – with 1,372 cases since the crisis began.

Britons were starting to get a taste of the strict measures to come, with the first nation-wide lockdown not in place until Boris Johnson’s stay-at-home order on March 23.

Matt Hancock said the elderly will be told to stay indoors for up to four months to stem the spread of Covid and protect the most vulnerable in society, claiming it ‘is not an easy thing for people to sustain’.

There was no timeline on when the measures would be introduced, but it sparked fears about getting essential supplies such as food and medicine to the elderly.

And – in a stark warning about how serious the pandemic was quickly becoming – Mr Hancock also admitted the NHS didn’t have enough ventilators for the fight against coronavirus.

But similar concerns were hardly mirrored across the pond, where then-US President Donald Trump – who was frequently blasted for his delayed and flippant responses to early signs of the pandemic – told people to ‘relax’.

On March 15 – when the US death toll hit 63 and cases neared 3,500 – Trump told a White House press conference that ‘we’re going to be so good’, adding: ‘Relax, we’re doing great. It all will pass.’

A timeline on when the Covid-19 crisis would ‘pass’ for the world was also hinted at on that day – with scientists saying a  Covid-19 vaccine would be developed in around a year.

In the ten days leading up to one-year of lockdown, MailOnline has been looking back on those last days of precious freedom. 

March 15, 2020: Britain mourns its youngest Covid-19 patient as death toll hits 35 

Britain mourned its then-youngest Covid-19 victim, 59-year-old father-of-two Nick Matthews. The country has since beaten the grim record multiple times – including when a healthy 13-day-old baby died of the virus in June.

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

But back on March 15, it was revealed that retired policeman Matthews  – who had underlying health conditions – died in Bristol Royal Infirmary one morning prior, with his heartbroken wife describing him as her ‘life partner and soul mate’.

It came as the UK’s Covid fatalities increased by 14 overnight – bringing the total death toll to 35.  

Britain’s coronavirus case total was creeping upwards too, with a further 200 positive tests bringing the total to 1,372.

Heartbroken wife Mary Matthews (left) paid tribute to her ‘life partner and soul mate’ husband Nick, 59, (right) who died from coronavirus in Bristol

March 15, 2020: Hancock says elderly will be told to stay home for four months 

Matt Hancock used his March 15 appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show to confirm that the Government planned to tell the elderly to stay at home for up to four months to stem the spread of Covid and protect the most vulnerable in society 

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

Matt Hancock used his March 15 appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show to confirm that the Government planned to tell the elderly to stay at home for up to four months to stem the spread of Covid and protect the most vulnerable in society.

He said ‘we don’t want to do that too soon because clearly it is not an easy thing for people to do, it is not an easy thing for people to sustain’ – but he said he expected the stay-at-home advice to be issued ‘certainly in the coming weeks absolutely’.

The admission sparked fears about how the elderly will get essential medicines and food.

And – in a stark warning about how serious the pandemic was quickly becoming – Mr Hancock also admitted the NHS didn’t have enough ventilators for the fight against coronavirus. 

March 15, 2020: Covid-19 vaccines for Britons are a year away, scientists warn

The UK’s hugely-successful vaccine rollout began on December 8 last year – and 25.8 million jabs have been handed out since then. 

But this time last year, former-chief scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport said the country is one year away from the sought-after dose – after experts warned such treatments could be slower to reach the UK after Brexit. 

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

Speaking on Sophie Ridge, he said: ‘Vaccines are being developed at a very fast rate so there are a number of candidates: large companies, small companies, universities all working.

‘The challenge here is to make sure the vaccine is safe and it works, and unfortunately, that takes a period of time to do so realistically. 

‘It’s very unlikely that we are going to have a vaccine for the present round of this epidemic.

‘We are talking months, up to a year.’

Sir Mark added it was ‘quite likely’ that a large percentage of the population would get coronavirus, but many would be mild or sub-clinical.

This time last year, former-chief scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport said the country is one year away from the sought-after dose – after experts warned such treatments could be slower to reach the UK after Brexit

March 15, 2020: Trump tells Americans ‘Relax, we’re doing great’ as cases rise

The former-US President’s comments throughout the pandemic were blasted by critics. Some said Donald Trump’s delayed and flippant responses to the country’s rising case numbers contributed the US becoming the worst-hit country in the world. Pictured: The President and Vice President on March 15, 2020 

The former-US President’s comments throughout the pandemic were blasted by critics.

Some said Donald Trump’s delayed and flippant responses to the country’s rising case numbers contributed the US becoming the worst-hit country in the world.

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE 

On March 15 – when the US death toll hit 63 and cases neared 3,500 – Trump told a White House press conference that ‘we’re going to be so good’, adding: ‘Relax, we’re doing great. It all will pass.’

He also urged people not to stockpile, adding: ‘You don’t have to buy so much. Take it easy. Just relax.’

Then-Vice President Mike Pence – who was leading the coronavirus task force – also assured Americans that stores would remain open indefinitely.

He said: ‘As the president said, he received a commitment from those grocery executives that stores will stay open throughout the days that lie ahead.

‘American families can be confident, your local grocery stores will be open, it’s going to be well supplied. And they specifically asked us to encourage Americans just buy your weekly needs in grocery.

‘Because the grocery stores will remain open.’

On March 15 – when the US death toll hit 63 and cases neared 3,500 – Trump (pictured) told a White House press conference that ‘we’re going to be so good’, adding: ‘Relax, we’re doing great. It all will pass’ 

‘You don’t have to buy so much. Take it easy. Just relax,’ he said during a briefing at the White House on March 15, 2020

He left before other members of the coronavirus task force spoke and without taking any questions from the press

March 15, 2020: Supermarkets crack down on what shoppers can purchase 

Britain faced days of desperate panic buying as shoppers – fearing the imminent UK-wide lockdown – stockpiled essential goods.

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

But supermarkets also began to crack down on what could be purchased after shelves of loo rolls, long-life milk and pasta were stripped bare. 

Sainsbury’s – which then had a five-product limit on certain items – emailed millions of its customers to urge them not to stockpile and insisted there were enough supplies of food and essential items for ‘everyone’.

Tesco – Britain’s biggest supermarket – rationed the sale of anti-bacterial products, dried pasta, tinned vegetables, toilet paper and tissues to five packs at a time starting online on the 15th and in stores one day prior.

Waitrose introduced a limit to products – including hand sanitizer – that can be bought online. In Boots, bottles of children’s paracetamol Calpol were being sold at only one at a time.

Britain faced days of desperate panic buying as shoppers – fearing the imminent UK-wide lockdown – stockpiled essential goods. Pictured: Two men with trolleys full of goods outside a Costco store in Manchester


Panic-buying customers formed huge queues in an Aldi supermarket in Liverpool last year as they stocked up on goods

March 15, 2020: Concerns for 300,000 zero-hours workers in lockdown

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

In the days before the furlough scheme was introduced, concerns were raised by the UK’s trade union federation on what would happen to 300,000 zero-hours workers should a lockdown begin.

There was no national lockdown in place at the time – with coronavirus self-isolation the only measure put in place to keep sick people with symptoms at home.

Delivery drivers, bar staff, shop workers, and those employed in the hospitality and leisure sectors were feared to feel the hardest hit by the potential lockdown – as working from home was not an option.

Frances O’Grady – General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress – urged the Government to ‘protect working people’s jobs and livelihoods’.

March 15, 2020: Queen, then-93, attends solo church service in Windsor   

The Queen put on a defiant display as she attended Sunday church service alone in Windsor on the day Mr Hancock confirmed the Government would tell the elderly to stay at home for up to four months 

The then-93-year-old Monarch – who became a steadfast figure of resilience as the pandemic escalated – opted for a glamorous green ensemble as she was seen in the back of a car leaving All Saints Church after the service 

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

The Queen put on a defiant display as she attended Sunday church service alone in Windsor on the day Mr Hancock confirmed the Government would tell the elderly to stay at home for up to four months.  

The then-93-year-old Monarch opted for a glamorous green ensemble as she was seen in the back of a car leaving All Saints Church after the service.

The Queen became a steadfast figure of resilience as the pandemic escalated.

She issued a rallying address to the nation on the challenges lockdown brought in April. 

 

March 15, 2020: Art thieves steal three historic paintings worth ‘millions of pounds’ 

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

Three historic paintings thought to be worth millions of pounds vanished from an art gallery after an overnight heist, it was revealed on March 15.

Audacious burglars stole the paintings – one of which dates back to 1616 – from an art gallery in St Aldates, Oxford on the Saturday night – with Thames Valley Police issuing an appeal on Sunday.

Thieves broke into the renowned Christ Church Picture Gallery at 11pm on March 14. 

Detectives established three paintings were taken, including the irreplaceable A Soldier on Horseback.

Painted by Anthony Van Dyck in 1616, the work is thought to be worth more than £1million.

Anthony Van Dyck’s 1616 painting A Soldier on Horseback is thought to be worth more than £1million. It was one of three historic paintings stolen from Christ Church Picture Gallery in Oxford in an overnight heist on March 14

Audacious burglars who stole the paintings, one of which dates back to 1616, from an art gallery in St Aldates, Oxford on the Saturday night – with Thames Valley Police issuing an appeal on Sunday. A Boy Drinking by Annibale Caracci was the oldest painting to be stolen out of the three

March 15, 2020: Viewers get a sneak peak of The Crown season 4 with Emma Corrin

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

Pictures released on March 15 showed Emma Corrin playing Princess Diana in The Crown – in a sneak peak of the series that wasn’t released until November 15. 

The actress was spotted in London on the 14th stepping off a Concorde – with British Airways emblazoned across the side of it – waving to onlookers.

The scenes were thought to be a replication of when Princess Diana returned to the UK from Vienna in 1986 – wearing a similar electric blue ensemble. 


Pictures released on March 15 showed Emma Corrin playing Princess Diana in The Crown – in a sneak peak of the series that wasn’t released until November 15. The actress was spotted in London on Saturday stepping off a Concorde – with British Airways emblazoned across the side of it – waving to onlookers

March 15, 2020: No 10 announces daily press conferences in coronavirus battle

Downing Street confirmed on March 15 that Boris Johnson – or one of his senior ministers – will hold daily press conferences to update the public on the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

It came ahead of the first daily briefing on March 16, when the Prime Minister addressed the media over the pandemic alongside chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

The first briefing came after the PM chaired a Cobra committee meeting.

Pope Francis defied Italian government advice to stay indoors and walked to church through Rome’s deserted streets to pray for the end of coronavirus on March 15.

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

The Catholic leader had earlier delivered a blessing from his balcony window above an eerily empty St Peter’s Square – which was closed to worshippers as part of the country’s sweeping lockdown.

Francis then left the Vatican to visit two churches in the Italian capital, first praying in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore before strolling down the usually bustling Via del Corso.

He headed to the St Marcello al Corso, which poignantly hosts a crucifix carried in a 1522 procession in Rome when the city was stricken with plague.

Flanked by his security detail, the 83-year-old pope decided to walk through the streets ‘as if on a pilgrimage,’ Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.  

The Catholic leader had earlier delivered a blessing from his balcony window (pictured) above an eerily empty St Peter’s Square – which was closed to worshippers as part of the country’s sweeping lockdown 

Flanked by his security detail, Francis strolls down the usually bustling Via del Corso in Rome ‘as if on a pilgrimage,’ the Vatican said

British passengers on the Queen Mary 2 are told they need to disembark in Australia during a cruise 

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A British couple had to leave their 99-day £68,000 cruise on the Queen Mary 2 early amid the coronavirus crisis – even though no-one on board caught the deadly bug. 

Dave and his wife Helen, from Bletchley Heath, Kent, departed from Southampton for Australia on the 10th of January.

The journey – to celebrate their 70th birthdays – was cancelled due to coronavirus fears.

They sailed to Fremantle, in Western Australia, where organisers told them they would have to leave the ship immediately and fly home – even though no-one on board was diagnosed with the bug which had then infected more than 150,000 and killed 5,000 worldwide.

Those who are medically unable to fly and have obtained a doctors’ note to prove it were able to stay onboard the ship to be sailed home.

A British couple had to leave their 99-day £68,000 cruise on the Queen Mary 2 (pictured) early amid the coronavirus crisis – even though no-one on board caught the deadly bug 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio considers locking down NYC amid soaring Covid cases

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

Bill de Blasio said he wouldn’t ruling out quarantining New York City as cases of coronavirus in the most populous US city skyrocketed.

He said ‘every option is on the table in a crisis’ adding: ‘We’ve never seen anything like this.’

‘It’s changing every hour so we’re going to constantly make new decisions,’ de Blasio said, adding he expected the case tally in the city to rise to 1,000 in the next few days.

De Blasio claimed New York City is far worse off and ‘so far behind’ because of federal government failures and delays.

‘We need the federal government to take over the supply change right now,’ he said. 

‘Right now we have to make sure the places in this country that need more ventilators, surgical masks, they need hand sanitizers, that that is a federalized dynamic where those factories that produce those goods are put on 24/7 shifts.’

Bill de Blasio (pictured) said he wouldn’t ruling out quarantining New York City as cases of coronavirus in the most populous US city skyrocketed 

… and The Weekend is still at No1 with Blinding Lights  

Blinding Lights by The Weekend closed out its second consecutive week at No1 – and would go on to another week at the top spot the week after.

It first reached No1 in early February, but was briefly knocked off by Billie Eilish’s No Time To Die, the theme song to the next James Bond movie – which still has not been released because of the pandemic.  

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