Transcribed from a video made by Led By Donkeys.
31 Dec 2019 – China alerts the World Health Organisation to a new virus.
23 Jan 2020 – Wuhan locked down.
24 Jan – Study in the British medical journal The Lancet reveals the acute danger to human life from the new coronavirus. Boris Johnson skips the first Cobra meeting called to address the crisis.
29 Jan – Johnson misses the second Cobra meeting.
30 Jan – The WHO declares a public health emergency of international concern.
31 Jan – Brexit Day. Two people in UK test positive for coronavirus. NHS declares the first ever Level 4 critical incident. Johnson government declines to join a European scheme to source PPE despite being invited.
5 Feb – Johnson misses the third Cobra meeting on the coronavirus.
12 Feb – An Exeter University study warns that the virus could infect 45 million people in the UK if left unchallenged. Johnson skips the fourth Cobra meeting called to address the crisis.
14 Feb – Johnson retreats to the government grace and favour estate at Chevening for a ‘working holiday’. Aides are told to keep his briefing notes short. According to one official, “Box submissions have to be brief if he’s going to read it. If they’re overly long or overly complex, Dom [Dominic Cummings] sends them back with savage comments.” It will later emerge that much of Johnson’s time at Chevening was actually spent reaching a divorce settlement with his estranged wife in order to pave the way for the announcement that he and Carrie Symonds are now engaged and expecting a baby.
15 Feb – The first recorded death from coronavirus in Europe.
18 Feb – Johnson skips the fifth Cobra meeting. Looking back at this period, a senior government advisor will say: “There’s no way you’re at war if your PM isn’t there. And what you learn about Boris was that he didn’t chair any meetings, he liked his county breaks, he didn’t work weekends. There was a real sense that he didn’t do urgent crisis planning. It was exactly like people feared he would be.”
26 Feb – Half a million Brits could die, according to a leaked government ‘Worst Case Scenario’ document.
28 Feb – The first British coronavirus death is confirmed.
29 Feb – NHS bosses warn of PPE shortages and ‘nightmare’ facing the health service. PPE stockpiles have been left to severely dwindle or go out of date. Johnson retreats to Chequers to make the announcement of his engagement to Carrie Symonds and her pregnancy.
2 March – Johnson finally attends a coronavirus Cobra meeting.
3 March – Scientists urge the government to advise the public not to shake hands. That same day, Johnson tells a Downing Street press conference: “I was shaking hands continuously. I was at a hospital the other night, where there were actually a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody, you’ll be pleased to know, and I continue to shake hands.”
5 March – Johnson appears on ITV’s This Morning and says: “As far as possible, it should be business as usual.” On the same day, Greece closes its schools following in the path of Iran and Italy.
6 March – Johnson filmed shaking hands with scientists working on a coronavirus anti-body test.
7 March – Johnson joins 82,000 closely packed spectators at a Six Nations rugby match.
9 March – France bans large events and begins stricter social distancing measures. Ireland cancels St Patrick's Day parades. UK government says there is ‘No rationale’ for cancelling sport events in the UK.
10 March – The Cheltenham horse racing festival goes ahead with 250,000 people attending over 4 days. Data will later reveal a spike in cases in the region after the event.
11 March – The WHO declares a global pandemic. Madrid closes its schools as it becomes the epicenter of Spain’s coronavirus crisis. On the same day, Johnson allows 3,000 Atletico Madrid fans to fly to Liverpool. An investigation will later be launched into a regional spike in cases on Merseyside.
12 March – The UK sharply departs from the course of action adopted by Germany and South Korea and STOPS mass testing and contact tracing. The Royal Society of Medicine’s Gabriel Scally will later say: “Abandoning testing gave the virus the green light to spread uncontrollably.” ITV’s Robert Peston is briefed by the government on its approach. He wrote: “The strategy of the British government in minimising the impact of Covid-19 is to allow the virus to pass through the entire population so that we acquire herd immunity.” On the same day, the government’s herd immunity plan is projected to kill a quarter of a million people. Johnson’s response that afternoon was: “We are not – repeat NOT – closing schools now.”
13 March – Sir Patrick Vallance (Chief Scientific Advisor) on BBC News: “Sixty percent is the sort of figure you need to get herd immunity.”
Newsreader: “That’s an awful lot of people dying in this country.”
President Macron declares the closure of all schools and universities. Ireland's Varadkar shuts all educational institutions. Germany closes schools, nurseries and universities.
The WHO declares Europe the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson LIFTS restrictions on those returning from known coronavirus hotspots, including Wuhan, Italy and Iran.
The same day, the UK government downgrades its guidance on PPE advising NHS staff to wear less PPE in all but the most high-risk situations.
14 March – Johnson is still allowing mass events, as 5,000 pack into an arena in Cardiff to watch the band Stereophonics.
15 March – Germany tightens border restrictions with Austria, Denmark, France, Luxemburg and Switzerland. Ireland asks all pubs to close. The UK government keeps all pubs open. At this point, the UK has 1,400 confirmed cases of coronavirus and at least 35 deaths.
16 March – The Imperial College Study is published and concludes that over half a million Brits could die. Johnson asks people not to go to pubs, but allows them to stay open anyway. Stanley Johnson, the Prime Minister's father, will later appear on TV claiming that he will ignore the government's health advice and still go to the pub. On the same day, Boris Johnson jokes that the push to build new ventilators should be called ‘Operation Last Gasp.’
17 March – France goes into Lockdown.
18 March – “Tracing every contact MUST be the backbone of the response in every country,” says the WHO (at this point, it has been 6 days since the UK stopped contact tracing). Official UK death toll is 100.
19 March – A government diktat tells NHS hospitals to move elderly patients into care homes, even if they have Covid-19. A Whitehall official later says that the policy was designed as a “Stiff Broom” to free up capacity in hospitals. The policy is later blamed for an explosion of cases in care homes, with one cardiologist saying: “We actively seeded this into the very population that was most vulnerable.”
20 March – The UK closes pubs and schools. The same day, a senior government advisor claims PPE shortages have been completely resolved. The British Medical Association will soon report PPE shortages in dozens of NHS trusts across the UK, putting frontline NHS staff at risk. Also, Johnson tells the nation during Downing Street Briefing that he is hoping to see his mother on Mother’s Day.
22 March – Under pressure, Johnson now tells the nation NOT to visit their mothers on Mother’s Day.
23 March – The UK finally goes into Lockdown.
27 March – Johnson and Cummings get coronavirus. Cummings will break the Lockdown rules by driving 260 miles to Durham with his wife and kids, before taking a day trip to Barnard Castle. His statement to the nation asks people to believe that he drove to Durham to seek childcare, which it turns out he did not make use of, and that he drove 30 miles to Barnard Castle with his family because he was concerned about his eyesight for the return drive to London, and wanted to satisfy himself that his eyes were safe to drive. Johnson and his ministers defend Cummings by claiming that he acted as any responsible father would.
4 April – A consignment of 250 ventilators from China were found to be so badly built, they were a threat to human life.
7 April – To date, the UK has conducted just one-fifth the number of tests as Germany. The official UK death toll reaches 10,000.
18 April – the government admits PPE is running out, but announces that 400,000 Turkish gowns are due to arrive in the UK the following day. They do not.
21 April – It is revealed that PPE manufacturers offers of help to the government have been repeatedly met with silence. Instead, millions of pieces of PPE are being shipped from the UK to Europe. By now, 80 frontline health workers have died from coronavirus in the UK.
22 April – The government announces it will resume contact tracing, critical to controlling the spread of the virus – having ditched the policy SIX WEEKS ago. Nine weeks later, beset by repeated failures, Downing Street abandons its multi-million pound track and trace app. The Turkish consignment of PPE finally arrives in the UK. Ministers will admit that the 400,000 gowns ordered from a T-shirt salesman have failed safety standards and are completely useless.
25 April – the official UK death toll reaches 20,000. The real total is probably around double that.
30 April – Johnson claims: “We’ve so far succeeded in the first and most important task we set ourselves as a nation, to avoid the tragedy that engulfed other parts of the world.” At this point, the UK has the third highest number of deaths in the world.
5 May – As the official death toll approaches 30,000, The Times reveals that the TRUE number of fatalities is probably around 55,000. The UK now has the highest death toll in Europe.
During lockdown, there were other notable breaches of the rules by prominent figures in the public eye, not least of which was the Prime Minister's own father, who flew to Greece.
When lockdown was eventually lifted, teachers were swiftly demonised in the right-wing press as cowards for having reservations about the re-opening of schools.
'Eat Out to Help Out' was introduced, to get people back into pubs and restaurants, which we now know contributed to an increase in coronavirus infections (somewhere around 8-17%) leading to the second wave we're now experiencing.
Various commentators - not content with having demonised our teachers - also began to demonise city office workers who were reluctant to return to the workplace.
SNP MP Margaret Ferrier refused to step-down after it emerged that she took a train from London to Scotland following her positive test for coronavirus.
Jeremy Corbyn was criticised for breaking the Rule of Six at an indoor gathering.
Stanley Johnson was photographed repeatedly refusing to wear a face covering in shops, and claimed he was not "100% up to speed" on the rules.