Four years on: 22 pictures of the first coronavirus lockdown in and around Portsmouth

Four years ago today, then PM Boris Johnson addressed the nation in a manner that we would sadly become accustomed to in the coming months.

Adopting a sombre tone, he explained that, as the coronavirus spread across the country, the much-rumoured lockdown was being imposed.

Already many were beginning to stay at home. Shops were quiet, people were trying to avoid contact with anyone who was not a close family member, and we were often confused by the government’s pronouncements. We were urged to take precautions, but to continue living normal lives. We had been urged to avoid contact with people, and yet also continue frequenting pubs and restaurants. It was a boom for satirists, but after March 23 it was less funny.

At a stroke, the country shut down. Most shops closed, pubs and restaurants started what would be a nightmare 12 months, gyms and leisure centres emptied and everyone who could was ordered to work from home.

As Mr Johnson explained on that March 23 broadcast, we were allowed to go shopping for basic necessities, but as infrequently as possible.

We could take one form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of our household.

We could leave the house for any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and to travel to and from work, but only where this was ‘absolutely necessary’ and could not be done from home.

The result of this was ghost town high streets, deserted seafronts, and eerily quiet roads.

Take a look back at how news photographers Sarah Standing and Habibur Rahman documented that first, strange lockdown, as Portsmouth felt empty, often under beautiful blue skies.