100 days to Christmas: What are the key dates to know this year?

100 days to Christmas: What are the key dates to know this year?

The pandemic has altered lots of aspects of our daily lives since coronavirus first emerged at the end of 2019.

Since then, words such as lockdown, self-isolation and furlough have crept into everyday conversation, influencing everything from the weekly shop to large scale celebrations and events.

After a decline in Covid-19 cases and the easing of some restrictions, the numbers of infections have started to rise as Brits prepare for autumn.

Let's take a look at the key dates for the last part of 2020 and how they could be affected by the virus.

The start of Autumn is nigh (PA) September: - From September 16 students head back to university Parents spent the first couple weeks of September navigating new drop off and collections systems as pupils were introduced to classroom bubbles and acclimatised to a return to studies after months away due to lockdown and the summer holidays. From September 16, Universities will reopen and like most other sectors in the world, new regulations will force students to have a very different education experience. Rite of passage fresher events have been cancelled, with the Government warning of punishment for rule-breakers. Read more Ahead of thousands of students arriving at campuses across the country, universities minister Michelle Donelan warned police will take “serious action” against those organising large events. It came as new restrictions were introduced in England on Monday, September 13 which meant that social gatherings of more than six people both indoors and outdoors – including in pubs and restaurants are banned. After reports some companies have been advertising mass social freshers’ events, Ms Donelan said: “Health advice only works if we all follow it. New students have been urged to curb antics, especially during freshers week (PA) “I urge students, just like the wider public, to do their bit and act responsibly to ensure campuses can remain open for them to use and enjoy.” She added: “As a Government, we have clearly set out the consequences for anyone who risks spreading the virus, whether that’s through illicit social gatherings or organising large events. “The police and local authorities will take serious action where it is necessary.” Universities were also told that they should only offer face-to-face lessons for priority courses and students must not return to their family home if stricter measures become necessary amid local outbreaks. Government guidance dictated that institutions must have a plan in place that “assumes there is likely to be an increase in the number of cases or an outbreak associated with their setting”, the Department for Education (DfE) said. September 22: Virus thrives in cold climates Summer is officially over on this date as Autumn begins in the Northern Hemisphere. As the seasons change cooler temperatures are expected which does not bode well for coronavirus. Sneezes should be caught in a tissue (PA) Not only does the strain thrive in colder conditions, but more people are likely to meet up indoors as the weather dips. However, Professor Ben Neuman, chairman of biological sciences at Texas A and M University-Texarkana, and visiting associate professor at the University of Reading, said the winter could potentially have some benefits He said: “The move indoors for the winter may not be likely to drive up Covid-19 numbers on its own. “A cold winter can bring on its own mini-quarantine, as we stay home to avoid bad weather, and comes with a bit of natural PPE in the form of scarves and gloves." September 25 - Spikes in the UK and abroad Since the start of the outbreak, the number of UK's coronavirus cases has roughly followed trends in Europe albeit a few weeks behind. Spikes have been already been recorded on the continent and England has seen flare-ups in regional hotspots promoting local lockdowns. France: Coronavirus lockdown - In pictures 1/25 The empty Place Charles de Gaulle with the Arc de Triomphe AP 2/25 Place de la Bastille during confinement due to the coronavirus outbreak in Paris AP 3/25 French resistance: Emmanuel Macron announcing tough measures against Covid-19 AFP via Getty Images 4/25 The Eiffel Tower is seen next to a board that reads: "In the context of the COVID-19 the Eiffel Tower closes today from 9pm for an indefinite period of time" REUTERS 5/25 Drastic action: Paris yesterday before the whole of the French population was told to stay home AFP via Getty Images 6/25 An employee walks in the Musee du Louvre in Paris, undefinitely closed to the public AFP via Getty Images 7/25 Deserted Hotel de Ville Getty Images 8/25 The Louvre Museum Getty Images 9/25 An empty Disneyland Paris PA 10/25 A French policeman walks down steps at The Sacre Coeur Basilica AFP via Getty Images 11/25 French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is seen on a TV screen as he speaks from his office during the evening news broadcast of French public television channel France 2, on March 17, 2020, in Paris, on the day a strict lockdown AFP via Getty Images 12/25 Police officers question people walking in public after a government enforced quarantine Getty Images 13/25 Police officers patrol near the Eiffel Tower during a government enforced quarantine Getty Images 14/25 An empty railway station, in Strasbourg, eastern France AFP via Getty Images 15/25 A deserted Concorde AFP via Getty Images 16/25 An empty street leading to the deserted place Vendome in Paris AFP via Getty Images 17/25 A police officer wearing a facemask for protectove measures, contols a man near to the Barbes Market AFP via Getty Images 18/25 Two motorcycle police officers patrol near the empty Grand Place in Lille, northern France AFP via Getty Images 19/25 Police officers partol the area of the Esplanade du Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris AFP via Getty Images 20/25 Police officers check a pedestrian in Boulogne Billancourt AP 21/25 A Police Nationale officer gestures and talks to a man on the "Promenade des Anglais" in the French Riviera city of Nice AFP via Getty Images 22/25 French police officers check cyclists in front of the Arc de Triomphe as lockdown is imposed REUTERS 23/25 A policeman checks people's documents as they sit in their car near the beach of seaside resort town of Deauville in Normandy AFP via Getty Images 24/25 police's vehicle is parked in front of the Barbes Market as people arrive to do their grocery shopping AFP via Getty Images 25/25 A view of the empty La Defense square AP 1/25 The empty Place Charles de Gaulle with the Arc de Triomphe AP 2/25 Place de la Bastille during confinement due to the coronavirus outbreak in Paris AP 3/25 French resistance: Emmanuel Macron announcing tough measures against Covid-19 AFP via Getty Images 4/25 The Eiffel Tower is seen next to a board that reads: "In the context of the COVID-19 the Eiffel Tower closes today from 9pm for an indefinite period of time" REUTERS 5/25 Drastic action: Paris yesterday before the whole of the French population was told to stay home AFP via Getty Images 6/25 An employee walks in the Musee du Louvre in Paris, undefinitely closed to the public AFP via Getty Images 7/25 Deserted Hotel de Ville Getty Images 8/25 The Louvre Museum Getty Images 9/25 An empty Disneyland Paris PA 10/25 A French policeman walks down steps at The Sacre Coeur Basilica AFP via Getty Images 11/25 French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is seen on a TV screen as he speaks from his office during the evening news broadcast of French public television channel France 2, on March 17, 2020, in Paris, on the day a strict lockdown AFP via Getty Images 12/25 Police officers question people walking in public after a government enforced quarantine Getty Images 13/25 Police officers patrol near the Eiffel Tower during a government enforced quarantine Getty Images 14/25 An empty railway station, in Strasbourg, eastern France AFP via Getty Images 15/25 A deserted Concorde AFP via Getty Images 16/25 An empty street leading to the deserted place Vendome in Paris AFP via Getty Images 17/25 A police officer wearing a facemask for protectove measures, contols a man near to the Barbes Market AFP via Getty Images 18/25 Two motorcycle police officers patrol near the empty Grand Place in Lille, northern France AFP via Getty Images 19/25 Police officers partol the area of the Esplanade du Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris AFP via Getty Images 20/25 Police officers check a pedestrian in Boulogne Billancourt AP 21/25 A Police Nationale officer gestures and talks to a man on the "Promenade des Anglais" in the French Riviera city of Nice AFP via Getty Images 22/25 French police officers check cyclists in front of the Arc de Triomphe as lockdown is imposed REUTERS 23/25 A policeman checks people's documents as they sit in their car near the beach of seaside resort town of Deauville in Normandy AFP via Getty Images 24/25 police's vehicle is parked in front of the Barbes Market as people arrive to do their grocery shopping AFP via Getty Images 25/25 A view of the empty La Defense square AP The Government confirmed it was monitoring rates in France and was ramping up testing capacity to deal with demand. Speaking to Sky News, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said: “I’m not shying away from the current issue but what I’m trying to explain is that rather than us sitting back and pretending all is well, we have accepted the scale of the challenge, we’re ramping up the test centres, we have increased laboratory capacity, new labs coming on-stream so we can get that quick turnaround.” He added: “The fact the Government kept on saying about the dangers of a second wave, at all times the Prime Minister, all of us, were absolutely focused on the dangers of the second wave – we have seen what’s happening in France. “We absolutely are onto this in terms of understanding that through the autumn, if we are to get the balance between getting the economy back on track and getting children into school, then all of us now have a special responsibility to follow all those guidelines and do whatever it takes to beat this virus.” September 30 - Flu season arrives The end of the month sees the beginning of the flu season with GPs offering vaccinations to their patients. Not only could the period place extra demand on the NHS but it could force a lot of people into isolation. Coronavirus and flu share some symptoms, so even if you do not have Covid-19, you will be told to quarantine if you have a persistent cough, temperature or lose taste under the current guidelines. A scientist testing samples (AFP via Getty Images) One way to combat this is to have effective Covid testing in place. Prof Neuman also highlighted that the similarity of symptoms between Covid-19 and flu could result in an increase of negative coronavirus tests, giving the wrong impression that the virus was decreasing.  More people could book for Covid tests (REUTERS) He said: “A possible side-effect of flu and Covid-19 season is that since both diseases start off with similar symptoms, more people will be ill enough to seek Covid-19 testing. “Paradoxically, an influx of people with the flu seeking Covid-19 tests could potentially drive down the percentage of positive tests, which would then misleadingly suggest that Covid-19 was decreasing. “That is one reason why per cent positive rates should not be taken in isolation to monitor the pandemic.” October: October 31: Halloween and the end of furlough It is likely that Halloween guidelines will be issued ahead of October 31. The date often sees children, and some adults, dressing up in ghoulish costumes and going door to door asking for sweet treats. This could help spread the virus as multiple households touch the same doorbell or knocker. Halloween could be scarily different this year (PA) Furlough is also set to expire on this date and millions of people will return to work. While some workplaces may encourage employees to work from home, some sectors will need workers back. Not only will this increase the number of people in contact with each other but public transport is likely to be busier giving the virus more opportunity to spread. The City regulator has proposed that a further support package to help overdraft, credit card and personal loan customers who are struggling with their finances due to Covid-19 should come into effect when furlough ends.
Rishi Sunak hails furlough scheme a success, but it won't be extended

The Financial Conduct Authority has suggested new measures which will give tailored support based on a customer’s own circumstances to those who continue to need help, or who may need it for the first time. It wants to hear feedback on the draft guidance by September 21. Under the proposals, firms will need to contact overdraft customers who have received temporary support to find out if they still need help. Where a customer needs further support, firms should use measures such as reducing or waiving interest, agreeing on a programme of staged reductions in the overdraft limit, or supporting customers to reduce their overdraft usage by transferring the debt, the draft guidance says. November: Fireworks Diwali and Remembrance Day This month sees two events that usually see large crowds congregate. First up, it is entrenched in the collective psyche to remember, remember the fifth of November and thousands head to large organised events or garden parties to mark bonfire night. Fireworks night in London (PA) If they go ahead it could give Covid a good chance to spread, but if celebrations get cancelled it could put a dampener on the nation's morale. Next up is Diwali on November 14 which will come with similar considerations. The Government is likely to issue guidance about such events nearer the time, taking into account the national picture of coronavirus cases. Remembrance Day on November 11 could also be subject to new guidelines. Events are held to think about the casualties of war and many participants are elderly veterans who are in the virus' high-risk group. Again, there will probably be measures put in place to stem Covid's spread through communities. Field of Remembrance at Royal Wootton Bassett in a walled garden in the grounds of Lydiard House and Park, Swindon.(PA) Another C word will start to get attention as the month draws to a close and the nation prepares for Christmas. Light switch on ceremonies will most likely be scaled back or cancelled, as local authorities contend with social distancing measures and increased spending associated with the virus. Events such as Winter Wonderland in London's Hyde Park has already stated that it will not be opening this year. December: Christmas, New Year and new measures? Much of how the UK spends Christmas on December 25 will be dictated by what has happened in the preceding 100 days. Spikes in infections could see widespread bands of different households mixing creating havoc for families of all shapes and sizes planning the festive lunch. Many families will hope to tuck into a  roast dinner with all the trimmings (PA Archive/PA Images) Office parties and pub functions could also be in jeopardy, although this could come as a relief to some workers. The declining high street could also take another hit as shoppers opt to buy gifts online with renewed gusto. Children may also not be allowed to sit on Santa's lap, forcing parents to get creative in making the festive period special. Father Christmas in a face mask (PA) Some schools have already cancelled nativity plays and music recitals and churches will have to plan how they hold their services based on the latest information. New Year's Eve on December 31 comes with its own issues. While social distancing measures are likely to be in force, lots of people will also be battling cabin fever and may be tempted to party which could prove problematic in battling Covid. However, it is often darkest before the dawn. After winter must come spring and as the seasons change, hope comes in the form of vaccine trials and warmer weather. More about: | pandemic | Wuhan | Coronavirus | covid-19 | lockdown | Christmas | Halloween | Remembrance Day | Diwali | Vaccine | Explainers & Trends