On January 31, 2020, the first two cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United Kingdom (UK) were confirmed in a facility in Newcastle upon Tyne in the Northeast of England, after two members of the same family became unwell in York. The number of cases in the UK rose significantly at the end of February and amounted to 11,358 as of March 26, making the UK the fifth worst-affected country in terms of cases in Europe. London is currently the worst affected region of the UK, followed by the Midlands, and then the South East of England. There have so far been 578 deaths due to coronavirus in the UK.
In the wake of the pandemic the projected GDP growth rate for the UK has fallen. Compared to the forecast made in November 2019, the growth rate for the UK has dropped 0.3 percent. Furthermore, on March 12, 2020, the FTSE 100 suffered its biggest crash since ‘Black Monday’ in 1987. After the crash, the FTSE 100 has continued to descend. Global oil prices have also dropped dramatically as worldwide demand for oil declines due to the outbreak. This market crash in oil prices leaves the British North Sea oil industry in a vulnerable position. In the next month, it is predicted that 253 million British pounds will be lost in retail sales impacted by the virus, while across the whole of the EU a loss of over 3.2 billion pounds is expected.
As the pandemic has progressed, there has been a noticeable shift in the number of Brits who are actively practicing better hygiene in an attempt to protect themselves and others from the virus. A significant share are now also avoiding touching objects in public, and the majority of the British public believe all large sporting events, concerts and other large public gatherings should be cancelled in the country while the coronavirus remains uncontained. Furthermore, almost three-quarters of Brits would accept a total quarantine of towns and cities given the risk of the virus. Additionally, British citizens still have a lot of confidence their National Health Service (NHS) will respond well to the outbreak, with almost two-thirds having faith in the NHS during this pandemic.