🇨🇳 9 January. Chinese scientists reported that they had mapped the genetic information of a novel form of coronavirus which had caused an outbreak of severe respiratory disease in the city of Wuhan.
🇬🇧 31 January. United Kingdom authorities reported the first cases of coronavirus-related illness in the country.
🇲🇻 1 February. Maldives resumed its membership of The Commonwealth. Unfortunately it continued to allow Stamperija to produce vast numbers of philatelic products in its name. One issue however seems to have been produced for local sale - a pair of miniature sheets released to commemorate the 9th national scout jamboree with one of the stamps depicting President Ibrahim Solih in his role of Chief Scout of Maldives.
🇧🇩 17 March. Birth Centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Founding Father of Bangladesh. Many issues were released during 2020 by the Bangladesh postal service which were related to Sheikh Mujib’s birth anniversary. Other postal administrations - Nigeria, India and Bhutan - also released stamps to commemorate the anniversary.
🇬🇧 20 March. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic The British government shut down all bars, restaurants and public houses across the country.
This was followed by the announcement of a complete national lockdown which was ordered by the government on 23 March. On that day 76 people died due to COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, within 3 weeks or so, approximately 1000 people per day were dying from the condition in the UK.
🇳🇿 25 March. The New Zealand government ordered a severe national lockdown in its reaction to the pandemic which, though it was lifted on 8 June, has left the country virtually isolated from the rest of the world but did ensure that the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the country was very small. The population reacted by placing teddy bears in house windows and gardens and New Zealand Post issued a miniature sheet containing 6 different stamps depicting various teddy bears on 20 May 2020. The issue celebrated what was called ‘The Bear Hunt’. Pleasingly no bears are known to have been shot as a result of this issue.
🇬🇧 2 - 9 May. The London 2020 International Stamp Exhibition failed to take place because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. It was postponed to 2022. Despite this Royal Mail issued a sheetlet of 25 previously issued identical stamps on 6 May 2020 which was said to commemorate the 180th anniversary of the Penny Black. The cost of the sheet was £19.
🇨🇾 🇬🇬🇯🇪🇮🇲🇬🇮🇲🇹🇹🇷 4 May. Cyprus Post issued 2 stamps as its contribution to the 2020 EUROPA omnibus issue the subject of which this year was Ancient postal routes. Other Commonwealth postal administrations which participated in the issue were Guernsey Post, Jersey Post, Isle Of Man Post Office, Gibraltar Post and MaltaPost along with Irish postal service, An Post and the postal service of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but not Royal Mail.
🇬🇧🇳🇿🇨🇦 8 May. 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. Numerous issues from various Commonwealth postal administrations or their agents were released.
🏴🇯🇪🇮🇲 9 June. 150th anniversary of the Death of Charles Dickens, England’s greatest novelist. Royal Mail chose not to commemorate the significant anniversary but a number of Commonwealth philatelic entities did issue stamps to celebrate the achievements of Dickens including Jersey Post and Isle Of Man Post Office. Royal Mail did choose to issue a set of stamps to commemorate the Centenary of the first publication of Rupert Bear.
🇳🇿 24 July. The planned date for the Opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo which was postponed until 23 July 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This did not stop New Zealand Post issuing a set of 6 stamps on 6 October commemorating the 2020 Games.
🇦🇺 4 August 2020. Australia Post issued a set of 6 stamps to celebrate the recovery of wildlife following the terrible bushfires in the latter part of 2019.
🇬🇧🇲🇲 15 August. 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Asia. Royal Mail issued a stamp in its 8 May set as one the miniature sheet stamps depicting a Commonwealth War Cemetery in Myanmar.
🇸🇬 12 September. Singapore Post issued a set of 5 stamps to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the city state’s liberation from Japanese occupation at the end of the Second World War.
🇬🇧🇬🇬🇯🇪 1 - 3 October. The world’s first online philatelic exhibition, Virtual Stampex, was held as a substitute for the real Autumn Stampex which would have been held in London were it not for the pandemic. Both Jersey Post and Guernsey Post could not resist the opportunity to release Post and Go stamps to cash in on the event, hoping, I expect, that any profits they made from the sale of these items would be real and not virtual.
🇸🇨 9 October. The postal service of Seychelles commemorated the 250th anniversary of the first recorded landing on the islands at the island of Ste. Anne.
🇫🇯 9 October. Fiji Post commemorated the country’s 50th anniversary of Independence by releasing a single stamp.
🇲🇺 15 October. The postal service of Mauritius issued a single stamp to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the historic central post office in Port Louis.
🇦🇺 26 October. Australia Post issued a booklet of 5 identical My Stamps to commemorate the raising of severe COVID-19-related restrictions which had been in place since July in the city of Melbourne. The issue was titled Let’s Melbourne Again.
🇺🇳 9 November. The companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their jointly developed vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 is 90% effective in preventing people from developing the disease.
🏴🇺🇸 11- 21 November. 400th anniversary of the first anchoring of the Mayflower with English settlers on board at Providence Island in what was eventually to become The United States Of America. While Royal Mail did not consider this to be an anniversary worth commemorating, the Isle Of Man Post Office issued a set of 6 stamps showing key events in the colonists’ arrival in America.
🇬🇧 8 December. Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 in Coventry in England. The second person was a man named William Shakespeare.
🇸🇿 13 December. Ambrose Dlamini, prime minister of eSwatini, became the first Commonwealth Head of Government to die from COVID-19 at the age of 52.
🇬🇧 13 December. Royal Mail issued a set of 12 stamps, 1 miniature sheet and numerous other philatelic items to commemorate the American television and film series Star Trek using the excuse that a few British actors were featured on some of the stamps.
🇸🇭 20 December. The French President, Macron, himself infected with COVID-19, began a blockade against Great Britain because a new strain of the coronavirus had been reported in Britain. This was similar to the actions taken by the French tyrant Bonaparte during the various Wars of the Coalitions which took place from 1792 to 1815 which ended in his defeat and exile on St Helena where he died. Luckily Macron ended the blockade 2 days later so St Helena did not have to find spare accommodation for him.
🇬🇧🇪🇺 24 December. The United Kingdom and The European Union reached an agreement on trade as a follow up to British Exit From The European Union which occurred at the beginning of the year. Let us hope we never hear the word “Brexit” again. Now let’s see if we can get rid of the word “COVID” by the end of 2021. I expect the term ‘Levelling up’ will come into prominence during 2021 here in The UK.
🇬🇧 30 December. British regulators approved the Oxford University Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine for mass use in The United Kingdom paving the way for millions of people to be vaccinated easily, quickly and cheaply across The United Kingdom and Dependencies and countries abroad.
Elsewhere in Commonwealth Stamps Opinion territories, look out for 2021 events surrounding Kashmir, Bougainville, Malaita in the Solomon Islands and Southern Yemen as the new year goes by - there may be philatelic consequences.