Everyone wants to know when the lockdown will end, and what life will be like afterwards. The government's released very little information about what happens next, but there have been a few hints about life after Covid-19.

18 days ago, life in Britain changed completely. Boris Johnson announced that, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we were on lockdown.

Non-essential businesses, such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, and hotels, were ordered to close.

The police were given additional temporary powers to enforce the lockdown. PM Boris Johnson, when he announced the new measures, said: “If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”

He added: “We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with, and we’ll stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was one of the almost 66,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK

Almost as soon as the lockdown began, people began to wonder about how it might end. Business owners were concerned that their companies might not survive more than a few weeks without money coming in. Workers were placed on furlough or saw their wages reduced.

But peoples’ outgoings – rent, bills, the weekly shop, stayed at the same price. Economists predicted the longest and deepest recession in living memory.

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Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard economist and expert on financial crises says: “I feel like the 2008 financial crisis was just a dry run for this.”

The pandemic began in China, the world’s manufacturing powerhouse. There, the outbreak seems to be fading but the economic blow is yet to come: “If Chinese manufacturing comes back, who exactly are they selling to?” asks Rogoff. “How can global growth not take a long-term hit?”

If the progress of the UK outbreak follows the same general direction as China’s, the Government could be in a position to consider relaxing the lockdown by June or early July.

Many Brits have struggled to stick to the lockdown rules

Dominic Raab said yesterday: “It’s been almost three weeks and we’re starting to see the impact of the sacrifices we’ve all made.

“But the deaths are still rising and we haven’t yet reached the peak of the virus. So it’s still too early to lift the measures that we put in place.”

But people desperately need a break. One idea being floated is to relax the restrictions one area at a time, using hospital data and coronavirus monitoring apps to select areas that have lowest infection rates.

Her Majesty the Queen made a special broadcast to the nation amid the unprecedented crisis

Professor Paul Hunter, Professor of Medicine at the University of East Anglia told the Telegraph: "Personally, I suspect that the disease will tail off during June and July, partly because of social distancing, partly because of increased population immunity, and partly because these sorts of infections tend to spread less readily during the summer."

Even if a vaccine can be developed, the economic fallout will take decades to clear

Professor Hunter continued: "I suspect there will be some relaxation at that time. But I think it may come back, though less aggressively, in the autumn, and social isolation may need to be strengthened for a while."

But until or unless a vaccination is developed, any relaxation of the rules makes a second wave of the outbreak almost inevitable.

One of the sunniest Bank Holiday weekends of recent years is making the lockdown even harder to take

Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said: "It's almost certain to be a partial release. Whatever measures are relaxed, that runs the risk that the epidemic curve will start to increase again.

“Extending the lockdown buys you more time to raise the capacity in the NHS. That wouldn't solve the epidemic problems, and you would need to be in another lockdown eventually - but it would give us longer.”

Without a vaccine, the only hope we have of containing the disease is relying on people who have already survived the illness being immune.

The government's Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance has been very careful not to promise a date for the end of the lockdown

It’s by no means certain that you can’t get Covid-19 twice, but assuming that successfully fighting the virus off makes you immune, an antibody test, sometimes called a "serological test,” will help identify people who are immune and can be allowed back to work. This will particularly help the NHS, because some medical personnel are currently self-isolating.

Almost 8,000 people have died of the virus in hospitals – with figures for care homes and other locations yet to be added

Public Health England has said it is reviewing the tests at the moment and they will soon be distributed via Amazon and sold in Boots.

Professor Stephen Powis told LBC that NHS England are aiming to test “hundreds of thousands” of people in the next few weeks : "That's what we are aiming for. That is what we want to ramp up to, but remember this is a new virus and we're starting from scratch.

"The kits which are required to do this testing are being manufactured as we speak. We are getting those into the country, we are ramping it up.”

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But even with the tests, a second wave is inevitable. If social distancing has done its job, the wave will be more easy to contain, but it will come. University of East Anglia’s Prof Hunter said: "Subsequent peaks will usually be less dramatic and potentially more manageable."

All that needs to be done then is to clear up the economic damage, and to brace ourselves for the next pandemic.

Food delivery companies and other online business have seen a boom, while bricks-and-mortar retail stores and restaurants are suffering

But life will never be quite the same again. “The psychology won’t just bounce back,” said Charles Dumas, chief economist at TS Lombard, an investment research firm in London. “People have had a real shock. The recovery will be slow, and certain behaviour patterns are going to change, if not forever…at least for a long while.”