Coronavirus Timeline


The spread of COVID-19

The coronavirus has killed more than 40,000 people worldwide and infected almost 880,000 people. 

Spread over 180 countries, the World Health Organisation has declared the new coronavirus a pandemic. Below is the timeline…

December 31: China alerts WHO of several worrying cases of pneumonia in Wuhan

The port city, which has over 11 million people in the central Hubei province declared an unknown virus. Many of those infected had worked at the city’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

Health experts identified a cause for concern and raised the alarm as infections started increasing. When more than 40 people were confirmed to be infected, the market was shut down on January 1st. 

January 5: Chinese officials disputed that this was another case of SARS

Severe acute respiratory syndrome is an illness that began in China and had killed more than 770 people worldwide between 2002 and 2003.

January 7: According to WHO, officials announced they had discovered a new virus

The new novel virus had been identified as the 2019-nCoV and was discovered to belong to the coronavirus family, which the common cold and SARS is part of. 

Coronaviruses are not uncommon and are often spread through droplets generated from coughs and sneezes.

The virus is easily spread when someone touches an infected surface and then proceeds to touch their face. It can also be spread by being in close proximity to and inhaling these droplets from an infected person.

January 11: China announces the first official death from COVID-19

A 61-year-old man who had previously bought goods from the seafood market did not respond well to treatment to alleviate his symptoms. 

Shortly after being admitted to hospital he died of heart failure on January 9th. 

January 13: WHO reports first case outside of China

A confirmed case of the virus arrives in Thailand from a woman who had travelled there from Wuhan. 

January 16: Japan’s health ministry reports confirmed case of man visited Wuhan.

January 17: Second death reported in Wuhan

The US further announced that in three of its major airports they would begin to screen passengers flying in from the city. 

Following this, authorities in the US, France, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan and Nepal all confirmed positive tests for the coronavirus.

January 20: Third death is reported in China

Alongside this a further 200 infections were documented with cases appearing outside of the Hubei province, which included the capital Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Chinese experts confirmed human-to-human transmission and sparks fear that a colossal outbreak could be on their hands as millions travel for the Lunar New Year holiday.  

More Asian countries begin to introduce stricter measures to prevent the spread of the virus by introducing screenings at more airports for all arrivals coming in from the high-risk Chinese areas.

January 22: Death toll increases to 17 with a further 550 infections

This prompted many European countries and airports to step up their own measures to screen flights from Wuhan. 

January 23: Wuhan placed under quarantine

Rail and air departures were suspended until further notice. These measures were also put into effect in two more major cities in the Hubei province including Xiantao and Chibi. 

Events for the Lunar New Year were cancelled in Beijing as the first official death was reported outside of Hubei. 

WHO released a statement claiming that the outbreak as of yet did not need to be deemed as an emergency of international concern, this was because of a lack of evidence that the virus was spreading fast between people outside of the affected China.

January 24: Cities in lockdown in Hubei rise to 13 affecting 41 million residents

Disneyland in Shanghai closed and other cities in the province announced the closure of entertainment venues. A section of the Great Wall of China was also closed. 

Death toll had reached 26 and 830 infections. 

January 25: 56 million people affected

Lockdown measures increased as five cities in Hubei went into quarantine. 

In other areas, Hong Kong declared a virus emergency of their own and cancelled all major events and restricted travel to China. 

January 26: Death toll spiked to 56 and 2,000 cases confirmed

Hong Kong prepared to close Disneyland and theme parks and imposed greater travel restrictions. New cases also had appeared in the US, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and South Korea. 

January 27: 106 dead in China, with 100 cases being reported to be from Hubei

4,515 new cases were confirmed in China, 2,714 cases being confirmed in the Hubei province, which had risen from 1,423 the previous day. 

January 30: WHO declares coronavirus as a global emergency

Death toll in China now stands at 170, with more almost 8,000 cases reported throughout the country. The virus has now spread to each of the 31 provinces.

India and the Philippines confirmed one case each. 

January 31: Russia, Spain, Sweden and the UK report their first case of the virus

Meanwhile in China, the amount of people infected rose to 9,809. 

February 4: 425 dead in China, 20,438 infected

Hong Kong reports a death bringing the global tally up to 427. 

On the 5 February, WHO reconfirmed that there is no effective treatment known to treat the coronavirus. By this time, China reported 490 deaths and 24,324 infections. 

February 7: Hong Kong introduces prison sentences for people caught breaking quarantine rules

Back in China, the confirmed dead reached 636 and more than 30,000 people had been infected. Researchers in China announce that the pangolin could have been a link of many in the animal-human infections. 

On the 8th of February a US citizen died in Wuhan. 

February 9: Death toll rises over that of 2002-2003 SARS epidemic

The WHO sent a team of experts to China to investigate. 

By the 11th of February, Chinese deaths reached 1,016, with more than 40,000 people stated to be infected. 

On the 12th, it was announced that 175 people were infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was docked at Yokohama in Japan. 

February 19: Iran reports two deaths hours after announcing its first cases

China now at 74,185 infections and 2,0004 deaths report a drop in daily infections for the second consecutive day. The health commission reported that daily infections had dropped to the lowest they had seen throughout the month, however these were only cases tested in Hubei. 

February 22: South Korea new cases jump to 229 in one day

Italy records its first two deaths, Iran confirms their fifth and infections in China grew only by 397. 

March 7: Coronavirus kills almost 3,500 people with more than 100,000 individuals infected over 90 countries

One of the worst-hit countries, Iran reported 4,747 cases and 124 deaths with an MP, Fatemeh Rahbar dying from the virus. 

By the 9th of March, Iran released 70,000 prisoners without specifying when they would need to return to their sentence. 

On March the 11th, the WHO declared coronavirus as a pandemic. 

March 15: Spain’s figures rise to 288 deaths and 7,700 confirmed cases

The following day New York closes bars, theatres and cinemas to close. 

March 17th Italy announced 2,503 dead with 31,506 ongoing cases. The next day they recorded 475 new deaths, the highest of the one-day toll of any country affected worldwide. 

Meanwhile in China, since the first day of the outbreak no new cases were reported. 

March 19: Italy overtakes China

3,405 coronavirus related deaths compared to 3,245 in China. Spain’s death toll also increased by 558.

By March 20th, cases in Germany jumped from 2,958 to 13,957. More than 500 people in Spain also died.

Europe becomes the epicentre of the coronavirus. 

March 26: Total coronavirus cases over 500,000

More than 250,000 cases in Europe, with more than half being in Spain and Italy. 

On the 27th of March, Boris Johnson announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Meanwhile in Spain, the death toll increased to 4,858. 

March 28: More than 600,000 worldwide cases

A total of 27,000 deaths were documented worldwide. The number of those infected in the US reached more than 100,000 cases. This number jumped in the following days to 124,000 cases, which accounted for the most coronavirus infections in the world. 

Italy announces more than 10,000 dead. 

April 1: United Nations chief warns that coronavirus could be the worst crisis the world has seen since World War II

860,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus worldwide. 

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