Cumbria and Southern Scotland marks one year since the first lockdown

Credit: Cumbria Police

A year ago today (23rd March) people across Cumbria and the south of Scotland were told to 'stay at home', as the UK went into lockdown.

Back then, it was hard for many to imagine we would still be adhering to many of those restrictions today - and even tougher to comprehend the devastation coronavirus would cause in the months ahead.

We have been reflecting on how Covid-19 has changed our region - the lives lost, the people affected and how communities have come together in solidarity.

Aerials of Carlisle and Dumfries after the first lockdown was announced. Credit: ITV News

After the Prime Minister's announcement on the 23rd March last year, our high streets emptied and roads cleared as people did their part to stop the spread of a deadly disease.

Figures released today show at total of 1,784 people from the region died with coronavirus since the pandemic began. 

The region fell silent in remembrance of more than 126,000 people who died after contracting Covid-19 across the UK.

Boris Johnson described the past year as "one of the most difficult in our country’s history" and praised the “great spirit” displayed.

ITV Border reporter Bruce McKenzie has been speaking to local people in Dumfries.

The First Minister marked the occasion at Holyrood, telling MSPs the Scottish government did not get everything right in its response to the pandemic and it is vital to reflect and learn lessons.

She paid tribute to sacrifices made in the past year, thanking all those who adhered to the restrictions. Scottish conservatives Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson.

Nicola Sturgeon also Tweeted: “One year on. Thinking today of all those who have lost a loved one to Covid, and to everyone who continues to make heartbreaking sacrifices as we continue to navigate our way through this terrible ordeal, together.

“Also, many people have lost loved ones to causes other than Covid over the past 12 months. The restrictions in place have made the grieving process even more difficult than it would have been – my thoughts are with you too.”

A care home nurse from Kelso has described how difficult the past year has been for the staff and for the residents.

Queen's House has avoided Covid-19 infections, but nurse Pamella Elwood said it's been a fearful time nonetheless. 

She said: "I've personally found it very difficult, you now there's always that fear if covid was to come in, the devastation, especially for the residents, your main focus has to be the residents, they're vulnerable. And that has never left, every day's the same, is today the day?"

Cumbria Police say lockdown has helped the area in terms of infection rates and hospital admissions.

Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery said: "Had the lockdown not happened when it did the situation would be very much worse in Cumbria. So, obviously at this point last year we really welcomed the lockdown coming in because we saw our case rates climbing we saw the number of people in hospital climbing."

The prime minister Boris Johnson is to hold a Downing Street briefing on Tuesday as the UK marks the anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown.

He will be joined by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, No 10 has said.

They will be addressing the latest Covid situation after the nationwide minute's silence held at midday to remember those who have died from the virus, and the many more lives that have been impacted.