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Episode one of a three-part series which tells the story of people from across the world living through the first year of the pandemic.

The film starts on New Year’s Eve 2019, when huge crowds gathered to celebrate around the world. We meet different characters as they walk into the interview space to recount their memories of the year.

Xie is a young food blogger from Wuhan whose wedding took place just a few days before her city went into lockdown. As the virus travels to Europe, Dr Amie from Coventry recalls watching in disbelief the horrific scenes of people dying in Italy.

At the same time, Vladimir, who works in the Mayor’s Office in Bogota, Colombia, begins to lock down the city to try to prevent the virus spreading there. In Belarus, a different approach is adopted. Valery, an accordion player from Minsk, recalls how everything was ordered to stay open, believing that the virus would never reach them.

The reach of the virus is long however, as a care home in a remote corner of the Iceland fjords records its first death. Seen through the eyes of this extraordinary range of people, the first months of the pandemic begin to reveal the different approaches taken to dealing with the emergency, as no-one really knows what to expect. It soon becomes clear, however, that the new normal feels increasingly unjust.

Pandemic 2020 begins Thursday 1st April on BBC Two.

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