It says something about my news ignorance that when I saw the Sky News headlines at Charing Cross saying that Nadine Dorries had Coronavirus, my first reaction was "Nadine Dorries is the health minister!?"
The world has changed. I first noticed it on Wednesday morning - the Tube was quieter than normal. Walking to the train station on Wednesday night after lectures, the West End was quiet. Not a ghost town, but quieter than I'd ever seen it.
By Thursday, a person coughing on the train drew nervous glances from everyone around.
We had mixed messages coming from the university: first, an email saying one lecturer at the university had shown symptoms after a visit to Italy, the classes and people possibly affected had been traced and contacted. One email said students should stay at home if they wanted, but another said official government advice was that it was business as usual and lectures were still being held. But tonight at lectures, about 8 of us showed up, and just before the lecture started, the university announced that from next week, face to face lectures are all cancelled.
The West End was even quieter tonight. Surreal.
Most surreal of all - myself and most of my colleagues left the office yesterday afternoon for the last time in who knows how long - we're working from home indefinitely.