A YEAR has now passed since The Standard broke the news that the Cotswolds had confirmed its first two cases of the coronavirus.

In the 369 days since, the country has been ravaged by Covid-19. Gloucestershire alone has recorded 940 deaths following a positive Covid test.

March 1, 2020, was the date the virus was first known to have hit the district, after two cases were discovered in Tetbury.

The first person in the county to test positive for the virus was a member of staff at St Mary's Primary School who became infected whilst in Northern Italy.

The two people affected had recently travelled to Northern Italy before they tested positive. They were then told to self-isolate at home.

At the time, Sarah Scott, director of Public Health for Gloucestershire County Council said: “I’d like to reassure people that we are working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Gloucestershire are protected."

There were just 23 confirmed cases in the UK.

The following week, a third person in Gloucestershire tested positive - in the Cheltenham area.

The news came just two days before the opening of the Cheltenham Festival.

With most sport being suspended in March, the decision to allow the Cheltenham Festival to take place caused wide-spread controversy.

On Monday, March 16, a third person in the Cotswolds tested positive for coronavirus, taking the total in the district to three.

One week later the country was plunged into lockdown and the first coronavirus-linked death at a Gloucestershire hospital soon followed.

As the number of people in hospital continued to rise and PPE shortages became apparent, an army of volunteers helped sew scrubs for the NHS.

Restrictions were relaxed during the summer, with non-essential shops and later pubs permitted to re-open for the first time in months. The Eat Out to Help Out scheme was launched, with dozens of restaurants offering discounted meals.

Testing was ramped up, but the Test and Trace system was not without teething problems. There were reports of people from Gloucestershire being told to go to Wales or Scotland to get tested.

As cases started to rise once more, restrictions were tightened. A 10pm pub curfew was described as a 'crushing blow' by landlords.

With care homes badly affected by Covid, we launched our Gloucestershire Care Heroes competition to pay tribute the amazing work carers have done.

A new tier system was introduced in October in an attempt to curb the rise in cases. By the end of December Gloucestershire had progressed from Tier 1 to Tier 4, via a second one-month lockdown.

A third lockdown started in early January, with schools closing again.

However, on February 22, Boris Johnson declared that “the end really is in sight” as he announced a four-stage plan to ease lockdown restrictions across the country, with the possibility that all restrictions could finally be lifted by June 21.

In December the first Covid-19 vaccinations were administered.

Gloucestershire is widely recognised as being at the forefront of the Covid-19 vaccination response.

More than 200,000 people have now received their first dose including most people in the 65-69 years priority group.

More than 20 million Covid vaccinations have taken place in the UK so far.

Sadly, more than 120,000 people have now died with Covid-19 in the UK.

Latest data for Gloucestershire shows that there have been 942 deaths since the start of the pandemic where the death certificate mentioned Covid-19 as one of the causes.