A YEAR ago today, the world was only just beginning to hear about an emerging new virus - one which had the potential to be dangerous.

Just weeks later, the first UK coronavirus-related death was reported right here in Reading.

READ MORE: Royal Berks CEO thanks 'diligent' locals

If nothing else, Covid-19 has served as a reminder for how everything is so closely connected despite being continents apart - an emerging illness in China soon led to international spotlight on our town as the place which saw the first of far too many deaths.

Below is a timeline of events marking Reading's experience with the pandemic as the outbreak began.

Key events

January 31: Reading’s Horseman Coaches collect evacuees from China

At least seven coaches from Horseman Coaches Ltd were seen arriving at the Brize Norton RAF base in Oxfordshire on January 31. The coach drivers had agreed to take the job, a company spokesman said, but he refused to say whether they would also face being quarantined.

February 1: Horseman Coaches provide a public statement about the safety of their services

Horseman Coaches said it had provided PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for all drivers involved, but that military personnel medics and government officials told the drivers that the equipment was not necessary due to the precautions already taken by the Department for Health and Public Health England.

February 12: Fears increase as it’s revealed Covid-tested inmate appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court

A prisoner being tested for coronavirus, having recently been extradited from Thailand, was believed to have appeared at Reading Magistrates Court just days after returning.

February 13: Inmate given the all-clear

February 26: Reading school closed after a staff member was told to self-isolate following coronavirus fears

St Michael’s School on Dee Road was closed on February 26 as a ‘precautionary measure’ amid the continuing outbreak

of the deadly virus. Reading Borough Council confirmed that the member of staff had been in northern Italy and began to develop flulike symptoms after returning home, so was told to self-isolate.

February 27: The Royal Berkshire Hospital issues advice to people reporting symptoms of coronavirus

February 29: One Covid case announced in Berkshire out of three in the country

The three cases - one in Gloucestershire, one in Hertfordshire and another in Berkshire - investigated

February 29: Reading primary school teacher tests positive.

In a letter to parents, seen by the Reading Chronicle, the Willow Bank Infant School reported that it was informed that a staff member had tested positive for the virus

March 1: Another school closed following Covid risk

Aldryngton Primary School, Earley, issued a letter to parents detailing how the school will be closed tomorrow for a ‘deep clean’.

March 6: First UK Covid-19 death reported in Reading

A person who tested positive for coronavirus died at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. The patient was the first UK death related to the illness.

Further details of the patient were not released.

READ MORE: Local hair salon among 'best Covid secure' in UK

These events marked the beginning of Reading’s journey with the pandemic.

Now, just days out of the second national lockdown, the town faces Tier 2 restrictions.

The town has seen 187 deaths and 2,693 confirmed Covid-19 cases (accurate as of midday on December 1).

Lockdowns have had a positive impact on figures, and with a vaccine on the horizon, there is hope for 2021 to turn things around.