Only two months have passed since the UK’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, and Great Britain is under lockdown, facing its largest crisis since the Second World War.

This lockdown has been imposed to curb the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19. The coronavirus is primarily spread through respiratory droplets that are released when a carrier sneezes or coughs; these droplets can remain detectable on copper for 4 hours, cardboard for 24 hours, and on steel and plastic for 72 hours according to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine. Carriers of the virus may not show symptoms for 2-14 days yet can transmit the illness if within two metres of another person.  

Consequently, the government has called for people to only leave their homes for medical reasons, purchasing necessities, exercising once a day, and for work that cannot be done from home. This is necessary to slow the spread of the virus, which has already claimed over 1800 lives, reducing pressure upon the National Health Service so that it can better treat fewer patients. London's ExCeL Centre is already being converted into a field hospital that will hold 4000 patients, and many final-year medics and student nurses will join the NHS workforce, guaranteeing that it will not be overwhelmed.

Those who do not abide by these tougher restrictions will face a £60 fine for their first offence (reduced to £14 if paid within two weeks), doubling for every further offence. If they refuse to pay, they will be taken to court or arrested. 

These restrictions will last for at least 6 months with a review every 3 weeks. Although the number of cases in the UK is predicted to peak on the 12th April, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer has stated that although curbs on normal life may continue into autumn to avoid progress against the virus’ spread being wasted, the strict lockdown introduced last week may be lifted when the number of cases begins to decrease. 

Schools have not yet received guidelines on when they should re-open, but the Prime Minister has insisted that the duration of their closure will be kept “to an absolute minimum.” Despite this, the education secretary Gavin Williamson has cancelled all A level, GCSE, and SATs examinations, clarifying that they will not be rescheduled. Instead, children will receive their grades through other means, such as predictions based upon work they produce and continue their learning through online means. 

Even after the number of cases plateaus and the lockdown is lifted, the UK will continue to experience the consequences of the current pandemic. On the 30th of March, the International Monetary Fund’s chief has forecasted a global recession which could lead to unemployment. Children may grow up in broken homes due to marital discord as families could plunge into a downward spiral as they struggle to pay bills. To prevent this the government has announced a £330bn rescue package to help ensure that everyone can return to normal life when the pandemic is over. 

If everyone heeds the government's advice, the UK is certain to pull through sooner.