Full timeline of how the coronavirus has engulfed the North East

It started in the Chinese city of Wuhan and now the coronavirus has become a world pandemic.

In the UK the death toll is pushing towards 800 and we are in lockdown as we try and stop the spread.

It has brought communities together as we face the tough months ahead and we showed our support for our NHS Heroes as we clapped for them from our gardens, balconies and doorways.

Each day ChronicleLive has kept you up to date with the latest news – from the first case reported in Newcastle to Boris Johnson being diagnosed with the disease himself.

And here we give a full timeline of the version of events that have grabbed our attention over the past weeks.

January 31



Breathing in coronavirus test slammed by experts
Breathing in coronavirus test slammed by experts

  • ChronicleLive reported coronavirus had hit Britain and two patents were being treated in the high dependency infectious disease unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

February 10



Health Secretary Matt Hancock
  • The coronavirus was declared a “serious and imminent threat” to the public by health secretary Matt Hancock.
  • The Secretary of State made the comment as he announced new regulations to delay or prevent further transmission of the virus.

February 12



NHS nurses wait for the next patient at a drive-through Coronavirus testing site

  • Coronavirus is “public enemy number one” and poses a greater global threat than terrorism, the World Health Organisation warned.

February 15



The Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne, where a high consequence infectious disease unit was used to treat the UK’s first coronavirus patients

  • The first two patients to be treated for coronavirus in the UK were discharged from Newcastle’s RVI. A university student and their relative fell ill with the virus while they were staying at a hotel in York.

February 24




  • One of four Britons from the Diamond Princess cruise ship diagnosed with coronavirus was confirmed to being treated in Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary. The individual was taken to a quarantine block at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside before being transferred to the North East.

February 25



A man walks next the swimming pool of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in La Caleta, in the Canary Island of Tenerife, Spain
A man walks next the swimming pool of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in La Caleta, in the Canary Island of Tenerife, Spain

  • Churchgoers in Newcastle were warned not to shake hands during the offering of peace – amid fears of the spread of coronavirus
  • Around 1,000 tourists staying at the staying at the H10 Costa Adeje Hotel in Tenerife were tested for coronavirus after an Italian doctor tested positive. The area is popular with Geordie holidaymakers.

February 28



  • Steve Bruce revealed Newcastle United players were banned from shaking hands at the training ground due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

March 3

  • A number of airlines cancel flights as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Hubei Province, and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China.

March 4



Twickenham is another venue reportedly being considered

  • The first case of coronavirus in the North East was confirmed. Public Health England North East and Newcastle City Council confirmed that a person had tested positive for the virus in Newcastle.
  • Geordie rugby fans told all Italian sporting fixtures – including the country’s Six Nations clash against England – will be played behind-closed-doors.
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March 5

  • Department of Health confirmed 10 cases in the North East and Yorkshire.

March 6

  • 86 cases of coronavirus confirmed in North East and Yorkshire. Of those 86, 11 from Newcastle were confirmed by health authorities three in North Tyneside, one in Sunderland, one in Gateshead and one in County Durham.

March 9



Shelves empty of pasta at Tesco

March 10



Roger Daltrey of The Who during their gig at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.
  • First wave of events were cancelled, including Durham’s Holi Festival, band The Who cancelled its gig in Newcastle, along with many other events being scrapped.

March 11



Toilet roll
Toilet roll
  • People are selling toilet roll on Facebook for £1,000 in a bid to cash in on the coronavirus.

March 12



St Patrick’s Day Celebrations at Tyneside Irish Centre in Newcastle City Centre in 2016

  • All professional football in England has been postponed until April 3, Northumbria University cancelled its St Patrick’s Day celebrations and Hays Travel asked staff to take unpaid leave after the coronavirus caused a huge slump in the travel industry.

March 14

  • All Jet2 flights to Spain were cancelled without warning, including at least two from Newcastle. More airlines also cancelled flights.

March 16



Kate Osborne

  • Classroom teaching was suspended at Northumbria University as worries about the spread of coronavirus escalate.
  • Labour MP for Jarrow Kate Osborne announced she has the disease, and is continuing to quarantine herself.
  • The Government asked everyone to work from home and avoid all but essential travel, to stop the spread of coonavirus. They should also avoid pubs, cinemas and other social venues.
  • Events continue to cancel and venues shut down.

March 17



Sam Fender at a previous show at the 02 Academy. Picture by Hannah Colley

  • As the Government set out drastic plans to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone was advised to follow social distancing measures as much as possible.
  • More concerts and events at Newcastle Utilita Arena have been postponed including Sam Fender, The Pussycat Dolls and more.

March 18



A Metro train arrives at South Gosforth Station in Newcastle Upon Tyne —– Metro Nexus stock
  • Nexus announced fewer Metro trains will be running because of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were urged to do “whatever necessary” to support carmaker Nissan, after the firm announced it was suspending production at its North East plant.
  • The PM and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced schools were to close following earlier announcements in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

March 19



Wedding Lockdown to launch on Channel 4
Wedding Lockdown to launch on Channel 4

  • The Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust confirmed a patient died at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, Northumberland after testing positive for coronavirus.
  • Restrictions on elderly passengers travelling for free on public transport were lifted, to help more people get to supermarkets during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Church of England weddings should be limited to a maximum of five people, including the bride and groom, new guidance said.
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March 20



Asda and Tesco
Asda and Tesco
  • The Department of Education published a list of “key workers” whose children will be prioritised for education provision following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
  • Tesco joined Asda to introduce designated shopping times for the vulnerable and NHS staff.

Video Loading

  • Health officials confirmed the third coronavirus-related death in the North East. The patient, an 85-year-old man, was being treated at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough after testing positive for the Covid-19 virus..
  • Boris Johnson ordered pubs, cafes, restaurants and other public places to close.
  • Universal Credit will see £1,000 added to the standard allowance as part of a £6bn welfare package announced as the Government fights the coronovirus crisis.
  • Staff at the Co-op in Ryton, Gateshead, lift spirits with their energetic performance of the disco classic ‘I will Survive’. Their video went viral.
  • Huge queues formed outside supermarkets before they opened for business across the region as the Government ramped up its coronavirus advice urging Brits to only leave their homes when necessary and avoid mixing in large groups, while pubs, restaurants and cafes were ordered to close, as well as schools. This prompted the Government to urge shoppers to “be responsible” in its latest coronavirus update as pressure mounts on the NHS.

March 21

  • New statistics showed almost 300 people tested positive for coronavirus in the North East and Yorkshire. Figures published by Public Health England showed 298 cases in the NHS region.

March 22



Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral

  • Boris Johnson warned the coronavirus outbreak is “accelerating”, as he urged people not to visit their parents on Mother’s Day.
  • The 1.5 million people in England considered most at risk from coronavirus because of their health conditions were “strongly advised” not to go out for at least 12 weeks.
  • Durham Cathedral and churches become virtual by live streaming services.
  • North East families urged to stay at home after beaches and parks packed with families ignore social distancing advice.
  • Northumbria Police’s top officer, Chief Constable Winton Keenen, sought to reassure the public and called for an increase in “community spirit” in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Coronavirus cases were rising in the North East, with 34 patients now confirmed to be suffering from Covid-19 in Newcastle. Figures published by NHS England show 368 confirmed cases of the disease in the North East as death toll in UK hits 281.

March 23



Children across the North East have made rainbow pictures and are displaying them in their windows
Children across the North East have made rainbow pictures and are displaying them in their windows

  • Major supermarkets across the North East are hiring hundreds of staff to help cater for increased demand caused by shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The armed forces are being drafted in to help manage and distribute supplies to frontline NHS staff.
  • Thousands of colourful pictures of rainbows have started popping up in windows amid the coronovirus outbreak as pupils are encouraged to put up the paintings to “spread hope” during this troubled time.
  • Metro trains have been cut to just one every 24 minutes, with dozens of drivers off work because of coronavirus, while passengers are asked not to travel unless absolutely essential.
  • Three coronavirus patients died in Newcastle and two have died in Sunderland. The announcement came from NHS England as the total number of Covid-19 deaths in the UK reached 335.
  • The country is in lockdown for at least three weeks, after Boris Johnson announced he was ordering people to stay at home.
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March 24



Sunderland landmarks are lit blue in support of the NHS and care workers in the region in these challenging times.
  • Sports Direct confirmed it will not open its stores to the public following a U-turn by the sportswear retailer.
  • Weddings and baptisms were banned for the foreseeable future. No further wedding bookings for the Newcastle Civic Centre are being taken and notice of marriage appointments will be unavailable until further notice.
  • Visiting at hospital in Sunderland and South Tyneside has been suspended until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak. And new dads and partners of women who have recently given birth have been banned from visiting them at the Royal Victoria Infirmary as strict visiting rules are enforced.
  • Newly-qualified nurses face a baptism of fire as they prepare to plunge head first into the battle against coronovirus.
  • Landmarks across the region were lit blue In a symbolic show of support for the NHS and health care workers.
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock called for 250,000 volunteers to help the NHS and those in the most need due the crisis.
  • All council-run car parks in Newcastle will be free of charge for the next three weeks, to help key workers who have to make essential journeys into the city.
  • The number of coronavirus cases in the North East has risen with 49 people now suffering from the disease in Newcastle. Both North Tyneside and Sunderland have seen their confirmed cases rise to 20, while County Durham now has 18. There have now been 165 positive tests recorded in North East local authority areas and 542 in total in the North East and Yorkshire NHS Region.

March 25



Marion Jolliff
Marion Jolliff

  • A Sunderland grandma who was fighting for her life and in a coma after contracting the coronavirus has recovered from the illness, her family have confirmed. Marion Jolliff, from the Pennywell area of Sunderland, became the first person in the city to be diagnosed with the virus two weeks previous.
  • Thousands of events have now been cancelled, along with Newcastle’s beloved Hoppings.
  • ChronicleLive launches our NHS Heroes campaign, celebrating the NHS workers across our region. More than 200 people in the North East and Yorkshire NHS region have been confirmed as having cornovirus. The latest figures from Public Health England, which were published on March 25, show 205 confirmed regional cases, although the actual number of people with Covid-19 is likely to be much higher.

March 26


Video Loading

  • Those who fail to observe social distancing rules now face arrest, the Government has said.
  • The UK is contributing £250m to a global effort to develop a vaccine for coronavirus, Boris Johnson has announced.
  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a massive package of aid for self-employed people whose incomes have been slashed by the coronovirus outbreak. They will get a Government grant of up to £2,500 a month.
  • The North East rang with applause for the incredible workers on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus on Thursday night. With most of the UK on lockdown to prevent the further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, people stood on balconies, doorsteps and in gardens to join in a neighbourhood cheer for the NHS heroes working to keep us safe.

March 27



Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to outline the UK's plan to control the spread of coronavirus
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to outline the UK’s plan to control the spread of coronavirus

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been confirmed to have coronavirus as UK death toll reaches 759. But he’s continuing to lead the Government and to work in self-isolation in Downing Street.
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also revealed that he has coronavirus.
  • A “much-loved” community stalwart and former Sunderland councillor has died from coronavirus. Margaret Beck, who was a former councillor for Fulwell, died on Friday morning, after contracting the Covid-19 virus. She was 70.
  • Agency workers employed in the manufacturing industry across Wearside have lost their jobs as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread. It is believed that 200 people who were employed by recruitment agency Northern Recruitment Group (NRG), were let go from their jobs with “immediate effect.”
  • A fourth person has died from cornonavirus in Northumberland. A spokeswoman for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust confirmed the news and said that the patient was 65..


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