THIS week marks two years since the coronavirus pandemic reached Wales.

Since then, our lives and our lifestyles have been dominated by the virus and the restrictions brought in to slow its spread.

Back on February 28, 2020, we knew very little about Covid-19, the illness that would go on to define so much about the next two years.

"Coronavirus now in Wales" was the front page headline on the South Wales Argus the following day. One person, who had recently travelled home from northern Italy – at the time Europe's epicentre of the pandemic – had tested positive for the new virus.

The same day, the first death of a UK citizen was confirmed: a man who had become infected on a cruise ship holiday.

It would be another three weeks before political leaders brought in sweeping lockdown restrictions, urging people to stay at home and making announcements about things like "furlough" – new and strange terminology that would soon become commonplace.

Penarth Times: The front page of the South Wales Argus on February 29, 2020.The front page of the South Wales Argus on February 29, 2020.

The pandemic quickly introduced us to scientific advisers that would go on to become household names. During the UK Government press conferences, Boris Johnson would invariably be flanked by people like Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty.

In Wales, chief medical officer Frank Atherton was thrust into the spotlight, offering advice on what we could do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

At the time of the first case in Wales, Dr Atherton sought to reassure us in the face of this new threat.

Penarth Times: Dr Frank Atherton, the chief medical officer of Wales. Picture: Huw Evans Picture AgencyDr Frank Atherton, the chief medical officer of Wales. Picture: Huw Evans Picture Agency

“All appropriate measures to provide care for the individual and to reduce the risk of transmission to others are bring taken," the Argus reported him as saying that day.

"I’d like to take this opportunity to assure the public that Wales and the whole of the UK is well prepared for these types of incidents," he added. "Working with our partners in Wales and the UK, we have implemented our planned response, with robust infection control measures in place to protect the health of the public."

Strict lockdown measures followed, and in the past two years we have spent months, in total, following stay-at-home rules and unable to meet others.

That changed with the discovery and rollout of the various Covid vaccines, and in Wales the jab rate became one of the best in the world after some initial delays.

But coronavirus has taken a huge toll on society and has led to many people becoming ill and dying.

Penarth Times: Newport city centre during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Picture: Huw Evans Picture AgencyNewport city centre during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Picture: Huw Evans Picture Agency

Here, Public Health Wales has recorded 6,993 Covid deaths and more than 815,000 positive cases since the pandemic began. Secondary impacts on healthcare have been profound: shutting down non-essential services during lockdown has meant demand for NHS services hit record levels, with more than 600,000 people on treamtent waiting lists in Wales.

And there is growing recognition, too, of the other harms caused by restrictions, such as the impact isolation can have on people's mental health.

Presently, the situation in Wales is more settled, after the Omicron variant wave receded in the New Year. But the virus continues to do harm: 10 more Covid deaths were reported in Wales on Tuesday.

The next Welsh Government Covid review will take place this Friday, and there are hopes the nation's remaining Alert Level Zero restrictions can be scrapped by the end of March.

A government survey last week found public attitudes to the pandemic are at their lowest point since the virus was first discovered here.

Some 29 per cent of people think the pandemic poses a high or very high threat to the country, and just 18 per cent think it poses a high or very high threat to themselves.

The economic effects of Covid continue, however. That same survey found around one in four people are concerned about paying their bills a month from now, meaning the pandemic's wider impact on society is unlikely to go away any time soon.