This chapter explores mobilities paradigm to map the United Kingdom (UK)’s Coronavirus disease (COVID) response and illustrate how inequalities in mobility, interwoven in different sites and at different scales – micro, meso and macro – generated cascades of systemic failure that limited the effectiveness of local and national responses, evident in the fact that during the first half of 2020 the UK had the highest excess mortality rate in Europe. Delivery drivers, public transport and warehouse workers, porters and other low-paid employees were suddenly re-labelled as ‘key workers’. Risk and protection, access to healthcare and testing, paid work and social welfare are all deeply inflected with questions of mobility and therefore the inequalities and power differentials they produce. The Coronavirus Act of 2020 provides a unique window into the UK’s governance of the COVID crisis. It is an emergency legislation, which grants the government blanket, time-limited decree powers over broad areas of the public, health and economic sectors.


This content is not covered by the Open Government Licence. Please see source record or item for information on rights and permissions.

Cite as

Burns, N., Follis, L., Follis, K. & Morley, J. 2021, 'Moving target, moving parts: the multiple mobilities of the COVID-19 pandemic', The COVID-19 Crisis. http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781003111344-5

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 30 May 2023
Was this page helpful?