How the nation made it through Covid-19 fight in 2021 - the key moments

28 December 2021, 06:53

LBC has taken a look back at the key moments in the fight against Covid in 2021
LBC has taken a look back at the key moments in the fight against Covid in 2021. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The unpredictability of coronavirus has led to ups and downs throughout 2021 - here are 10 milestones that saw huge change across the UK.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

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.

Read more: Covid booster jabs are likely to protect against Omicron variant, study suggests

Read more: WHO says experience gained in tackling Delta variant will help fight Omicron

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.

Read more: Roadmap out of lockdown: Key dates for lockdown lifting in the UK

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.

Read more: Euro 2020: 60,000 fans allowed into Wembley for semi-finals and final

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.

Read more: All UK adults have been offered a Covid vaccine ahead of 19 July unlocking

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.

Read more: July 19 'Freedom Day': Everything you need to know

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.

Read more: Minister urges people to isolate when pinged ‘even if their wedding's the next day’

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.

Read more: 'Pingdemic': NHS Covid app won't be tweaked to be less sensitive, PM confirms

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.

Read more: Omicron: All adults to be offered Covid booster jab by end of January, PM confirms

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.

Read more: Flights from six African countries banned amid 'deeply concerning' new Covid variant

*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.

Read more: 'No need to change Christmas plans' despite Omicron fears, says Sajid Javid