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How the nation made it through Covid-19 fight in 2021 - the key moments
28 December 2021, 06:53
The unpredictability of coronavirus has led to ups and downs throughout 2021 - here are 10 milestones that saw huge change across the UK.
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This year saw some peoples' lives start to return to normal after the Covid pandemic took its toll on the country in 2020.
As 2021 draws to a close, LBC takes a look back at the biggest developments - from the end of lockdowns to the rollout of the vaccination programme.
1. Third national lockdown
Unfortunately, the year began on a low, with England entering its third lockdown on January 6, following the Christmas period.
Measures including a stay-at-home order and the closure of schools to most pupils, were announced by the prime minister.
However much of the country had begun to look forward to a potential end to many restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
2. The roadmap out of lockdown
It was not long before Boris Johnson announced the planned roadmap out of the third lockdown.
In February he revealed the stages, which included the return to meeting in groups of six outdoors, reopening of non-essential shops and the reopening of entertainment and attractions.
It marked progress in the vaccination race against the virus - a potential sign that the worst had come to an end.
3. Euro 2020
Euro 2020 was not only a sign of progress for the England football team, which made it to the final, but also for the virus.
Wembley Stadium - which hosted the later stages of the tournament - was one of the first venues cleared to hold bigger crowds, with over 60,000 fans able to attend the momentous final.
It was later followed by the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, which was the first venue to run at a full capacity of 140,000 - even going ahead before restrictions were set to be lifted.
4. All adults offered their Covid vaccines
All UK adults had been offered their Covid jabs around the middle of July as part of the accelerated vaccine rollout ahead of Freedom Day.
It was a major milestone in preparation for the country moving into the final stage of its roadmap.
Incentives such as tours around sports stadiums and promotions and discounts for certain stores got people out in their thousands in the final push before restrictions were lifted.
5. Freedom Day
Labelled a "terminus point" for England's lockdown rules, July 19 saw restrictions come to an end across the country.
Crowds were allowed to visit shops, nightclubs and events that had been on hold for over a year, returning to a sense of normality.
It also saw the economy bounce back relatively well after an ongoing struggle throughout the pandemic.
6. Weddings and funerals
While everything reopened from Freedom Day, it was the return of weddings and funerals that had perhaps been awaited the most.
Devastated couples had been forced to hold off their big days while others missed out on saying goodbye to their loved ones.
With normal services resumed, delayed ceremonies were finally able to go ahead, marking a Covid milestone as well as personal milestones for many.
7. The pingdemic
Once restrictions were lifted the pingdemic took over, with the NHS Covid app forcing hundreds of thousands of people into self-isolation due to being in contact with someone infected with the virus.
The sensitivity of the app meant that even people through brick walls could have been pinged as having been in close contact with someone.
However, it all came to an end on August 16, when rules around self-isolating changed. It meant those who had been double-jabbed could avoid isolation altogether if they came into contact with a Covid case.
8. Booster jabs
In September, the rollout of booster jabs began, in an attempt from the Government to prevent a winter crisis.
As with the first vaccine, the more clinically vulnerable and elderly people were prioritised, with everyone expected to receive an offer for a booster by the end of January 2022.
The arrival of the Omicron Covid variant made the third vaccine all the more vital, providing a way to bolster protection.
9. International travel
After months of confusion over travel, the traffic light system finally came to an end in October, with the Government instead opting for a single red list.
As Covid cases declined, all countries were removed from the red list* allowing friends and families to once again reunite around the world.
Emotional scenes at airports saw loved ones come together, with one couple getting engaged.
*However, the list is constantly being updated in line with Covid developments.
10. 'Plan B' for Christmas
Due to the latest Covid variant - Omicron - raising concerns, the Government announced at the beginning of December that more Covid restrictions would come into effect.
It means people have to work from home where possible, masks need to be worn in "most" public venues and the NHS Covid pass is needed in venues with large crowds.
However, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told LBC there were no plans to reintroduce social distancing as of yet - a sign of progress from 2020, where the last-minute introduction of restrictions stopped loved ones getting together for the big day.