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Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020

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This article documents the chronology and epidemiology of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2),[1] the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, which was first detected in Wuhan, China. Some developments may become known or fully understood only in retrospect. (This omnibus timeline is divided into monthly sections and articles: The preceding page covers November to December 2019, this chronological section covers January 2020, the next one covers February 2020, and so on.)

Pandemic chronology

Countries and territories
by date of first confirmed case
(January 2020)
Date Country or territory
2 January China
13 January Thailand
16 January Japan
20 January South Korea United States
21 January Taiwan
22 January Hong Kong Macau
23 January Singapore Vietnam
24 January France Nepal
25 January Australia Canada Malaysia
27 January Cambodia Germany Sri Lanka
29 January Finland United Arab Emirates
30 January India Italy Philippines
31 January Russia Spain Sweden United Kingdom
Semi-log plot of cumulative incidence of confirmed cases and deaths in China and the rest of the world.[2][3]
Semi-log plot of daily incidence (epidemiology) of cases by region: Hubei Province; mainland China excluding Hubei; the rest of the world (ROW); and the world total.[2][3]
Semi-log plot of coronavirus daily deaths by region: Hubei Province; mainland China excluding Hubei; the rest of the world (ROW); and the world total.[2][3]

1 January 2020

Animated map of confirmed COVID-19 cases from 12 January to 29 February 2020.
Date when first case in each first-level administration was reported.

According to information reported by the South China Morning Post on 13 March 2020, Chinese authorities had identified 266 infected people before the beginning of 2020.[4][5][6][7]

According to the Chinese state-sponsored Xinhua News, the Huanan Seafood Market was closed on 1 January 2020 for "renovation".[8] However, in the Consortium's report of 24 January 2020, it was stated that the Huanan Seafood Market had been closed on 1 January 2020 for "cleaning and disinfection. However, the virus could only stay on surfaces for so long so this was useless."[9]

US CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield was briefed about the severity of the virus from his Chinese counterparts Dr. George F. Gao when he was on vacation with his family - according to reports, what he heard "rattled him."[10]

WHO in its Newsroom: Emergencies preparedness, the response said "the causal agent has not yet been identified or confirmed" and has requested further information from the Chinese authorities to assess the risk.[11]

2 January

On 2 January, 41 admitted hospital patients in Wuhan, China, were confirmed to have contracted (laboratory-confirmed) the 2019-nCoV (novel coronavirus); 27 (66%) patients had direct exposure to Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.[12] All 41 patients were subsequently relocated from the hospital they had originally been diagnosed in to the Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, China.[12] WHO declared that its three concerned levels (China country office, Regional Office for the Western Pacific and headquarters) have been working together to respond to the outbreak.[citation needed]

3 January

Chinese scientists at the National Institute of Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) ruled out the possibilities for 26 common respiratory pathogens, including influenza A and B virus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus metapneumovirus rhinovirus, enterovirus, and other common respiratory viruses. They determined the genetic sequence of the novel β-genus coronaviruses (naming it '2019-nCoV') from specimens collected from patients in Wuhan, China, and three distinct strains were established.[13]

Health authorities in Wuhan reported 44 cases, a big jump from the 27 reported on Tuesday. Eleven of the 44 were seriously ill, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said, although there had been no reported deaths to date. The health of the 121 close contacts of the cases was being monitored.[14]

Dr. Li Wenliang, a Wuhan ophthalmologist, was summoned to the Wuhan Public Security Bureau where he was told to sign an official confession and admonition letter promising to cease spreading false "rumors" regarding the coronavirus. In the letter, he was reprimanded for "making false comments by announcing the confirmation of 7 cases of SARS at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market" that had "severely disturbed the social order". The letter stated, "We solemnly warn you: If you keep being stubborn, with such impertinence, and continue this illegal activity, you will be brought to justice—is that understood?" Li signed the confession writing: "Yes, I understand."[15][16]

China formally notified US on the outbreak. At a White House briefing in March 20, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said officials had been alerted to the initial reports of the virus by discussions between CDC director Robert Redfield and Chinese CDC Director Dr. Gao on Jan. 3. Mr. Azar also told his chief of staff to make sure that the National Security Council was aware that "this (the outbreak) is a very big deal" [17][18][19]

4 January

The head of the University of Hong Kong's Centre for Infection, Ho Pak-Leung, warned that the city should implement the strictest possible monitoring system for a mystery new viral pneumonia that infected dozens of people on the mainland, as it was highly possible that the illness was spreading from human to human. The microbiologist also warned that there could be a surge in cases during the upcoming Chinese New Year. Ho said he hoped the mainland would release more details as soon as possible about the patients infected with the disease, such as their medical history, to help experts analyze the illness and to allow for more effective preventive measures to be put in place.[20]

The Singapore Ministry of Health said on Saturday, 4 January, that it had been notified of the first suspected case of the "mystery Wuhan virus" in Singapore, involving a three-year-old girl from China who had pneumonia and a travel history to the Chinese city of Wuhan.[21] On 5 January, the Singapore Ministry of Health released a press statement stating that the earlier suspected case was not linked to the pneumonia cluster in Wuhan and was also tested negative for the SARS and MERS-CoV.[22]

Chinese officials were criticized for failing to disclose any information about the "mysterious virus" that machine translations of official reports suggested may be caused by a new coronavirus.[14]

The WHO waited for China to release information about the "mysterious new pneumonia virus".[23] The United Nations agency activated its incident-management system at the country, regional and global level and was standing ready to launch a broader response if it was needed. The WHO's regional office in Manila said in Twitter posts Saturday: "#China has reported to WHO regarding a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, Hubei Province. The Govt has also met with our country office, and updated @WHO on the situation. Govt actions to control the incident have been instituted and investigations into the cause are ongoing."[23]

The Wuhan Institute of Virology did not respond to an emailed request for comment on the infectious source.[24]

5 January

The number of suspected cases reached 59 with seven in a critical condition. All were quarantined and local medical officials commenced the monitoring of 163 of their contacts. At this time, there had been no reported cases of human-to-human transmission or presentations in healthcare workers.[25][26]

Department of Zoonoses (National Institute of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention) submitted complete genome of Wuhan seafood market pneumonia virus isolate Wuhan-Hu-1 (published 12-JAN-2020).[27]

Early investigations into the cause of the pneumonia ruled out seasonal flu, SARS, MERS and bird flu.[28][29]

6 January

On Monday, 6 January, the Wuhan health authorities announced they continued seeking the cause but had so far ruled out influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus, and coronaviruses SARS and MERS as the respiratory pathogen that had infected 59 people as of 5 January.[30]

7 January

In a closed meeting of the Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping "made requests for the prevention and control work of the coronavirus outbreak" and issued instructions to similar ends. This meeting occurred 13 days before Xi's first public comments on the outbreak on 20 January.[31]

Scientists of the National Institute of Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) confirmed the novel coronavirus isolated on 3 January was the pathogenic cause of the viral pneumonia of unknown etiology (VPUE) cluster, and the disease has been designated novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia (NCIP).[13]

Scientists in China announced the discovery of a new coronavirus.[32][33]

Since the outburst of social media discussion of the mysterious pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, Chinese authorities censored the hashtag #WuhanSARS and were now investigating anyone who was allegedly spreading misleading information about the outbreak on social media.[34]

The world continued to wait for China to disclose more information about what had triggered an unexplained pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China's tenth-largest city.[35]

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created an “incident management system” and issued a travel notice Monday for travelers to Wuhan, Hubei province, China due to the cluster of cases of pneumonia of an unknown etiology…"[36][37]

According to prof. Mikhail Shchelkanov (FEFU Scientists' Council on 17-MAR-2020) he knew sequence of the novel coronavirus genome by 7 January ("we - world scientists' circles").[38]

8 January

South Korea announced the first possible case of the virus coming from China.[39] South Korea put a 36-year-old Chinese woman under isolated treatment amid concerns that she had brought back a form of viral pneumonia that had sickened dozens in mainland China and Hong Kong in the previous weeks. The unidentified woman, who worked for a South Korean company near capital Seoul, had experienced cough and fever since returning from a five-day trip to China on 30 December, the KCDC said in a press release. The woman had spent time in Wuhan, China, but had not visited the Huanan Seafood Market.[citation needed]

9 January

The WHO confirmed that the novel coronavirus had been isolated from one person who had been hospitalised.[40][41] On the same day, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control posted its first risk assessment.[42] The WHO also reported that Chinese authorities had acted swiftly,[40] identifying the novel coronavirus within weeks of the onset of the outbreak, with the total number of positively tested people being 41.[43] The first death from the virus occurred in a 61-year-old man who was a regular customer at the market. He had several significant medical conditions, including chronic liver disease, and died from heart failure and pneumonia. The incident was reported in China by the health commission via Chinese state media on 11 January.[44][45][46][47]

Chinese scientists reported on Chinese state broadcaster CCTV that they had found a new "coronavirus in 15 of 57 patients with the illness in the central city of Wuhan, saying it has been preliminarily identified as the pathogen for the outbreak".[48] The scientists announced that the current 'Wuhan Virus', a coronavirus, appears to not be as lethal as SARS. They reported that the new viral outbreak was first detected in the city of Wuhan on 12 December 2019.[48] Additionally, a total of 59 people have been identified as contracting the illness, seven patients had been in a critical condition at some stage, and no healthcare workers were reported as having been infected.[48]

10 January

The gene sequencing data of the isolated 2019-nCoV, a virus from the same family as the SARS coronavirus, was posted on Virological.org by researchers from Fudan University, Shanghai. A further three sequences from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, and one from Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan were posted to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) portal.[44][49][50][51] The same day, Public Health England issued its guidance.[42]

On 10 January 2020, Li Wenliang, Chinese ophthalmologist and coronavirus whistleblower, started having symptoms of a dry cough. On 12 January 2020, Wenliang started having a fever. He was admitted to the hospital on 14 January 2020. His parents also contracted the coronavirus (presumably from Wenliang) and were admitted to the hospital with him. Wenliang tested negative several times for the coronavirus until finally testing positive on 30 January 2020.[15] He died on 7 February 2020.[52]

First two patients in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China attend University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital.[53]

11 January

The first two patients in Shenzhen city transferred into a negative pressure room in Third People's Hospital of Shenzhen City due to matching lab test results, symptoms, and epidemiology and are being listed as suspected cases. The cases were not confirmed at the time, because requirement from the Chinese government at the time was that first case in each city needs to be submitted to provincial CDC, verified by national CDC, and then evaluated and confirmed by a specific diagnostic team in national CDC.[53]

The first viral genome sequence was shared to GENBANK and Virological.org by Professor Zhang Yongzhen of the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre through the auspices of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was before the government's official disclosure of the same to WHO, which occurred on the following day when the National Health Commission released several viral sequences to GISAID.[54][55]

11–12 January

In China, more than 700 close contacts of the 41 confirmed cases, including more than 400 healthcare workers, had been monitored, with no new cases reported in China since 5 January.[29][25][44][56] The WHO published initial guidance on travel advice, testing in the laboratory and medical investigation.[44] WHO is saying that "The [Chinese] government reports that there is no clear evidence that the virus passes easily from person to person".[57]

13 January

The USCDC announced that the genome had been posted on the NIH genetic sequence database, GenBank.[58] On the same day, Thailand witnessed the first confirmed case of 2019-nCoV, the first outside China.[59] The affected 61-year-old Chinese woman, who is a resident of Wuhan, had not visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, but was noted to have been to other markets. She had arrived in Bangkok on 8 January.[60][61]

14 January

WHO sent a tweet which said "preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China".[62] According to Reuters in Geneva, WHO said there may have been limited human-to-human transmission of a new coronavirus in China within families, and it is possible there could be a wider outbreak.[63]

On 14 January, The Wuhan Municipal Health Committee published a Q&A regarding the coronavirus, stating: "current investigation hasn't found clear evidence of human to human transmission, however, the possibility of human to human transmission cannot be ruled out".[64]

On 14 January, two of the 41 confirmed cases in Wuhan were reported to include a married couple, raising the possibility of human-to-human transmission.[60][65]

On 14 January, Maria Van Kerkhove, acting head of WHO's emerging diseases unit said that there had been limited human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus, mainly small clusters in families, adding that "it is very clear right now that we have no sustained human-to-human transmission"[66][67][63]

In a confidential government teleconference on January 15, between Ma Xiaowei, the head of the National Health Commission and the provincial health authorities, the government internally acknowledged the threat of a pandemic due to the reporting of the Thailand viral infection a day earlier and the public health threat that New Year holiday travel presented for the further spread of the virus.[68]

15 January

A second death occurred in a 69-year-old man in China on 15 January.[69][70]

The first known travel-related case of 2019 novel coronavirus entered the United States: "The patient from Washington with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection returned to the United States from Wuhan on January 15, 2020. The patient sought care at a medical facility in the state of Washington, where the patient was treated for the illness. Based on the patient’s travel history and symptoms, healthcare professionals suspected this new coronavirus. A clinical specimen was collected and sent to CDC overnight, where laboratory testing yesterday confirmed the diagnosis via CDC’s Real-time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) test."[71]

US Embassy in China issued a Health Alert Watch Level 1 for an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan, preliminarily identified to be caused by a novel coronavirus.[72]

16 January

On 16 January, the WHO was alerted by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare that the first case in Japan, a 30-year-old male Chinese national had tested positive to 2019-nCoV during a hospital stay between 10 and 15 January. He had not visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, but possibly had close contact with an affected person in Wuhan.[73][74]

Researchers from the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin developed a new laboratory assay to detect the novel coronavirus. The assay protocol has been published by the WHO as a guideline for diagnostic detection for 2019-nCoV. The new assay enables suspected cases to be tested quickly.[75][69]

17 January

On 17 January, Thailand's second confirmed case was reported in a 74-year-old woman who arrived in Bangkok on a flight from Wuhan.[76][77] The number of laboratory-confirmed cases rose to 45 in China.[78]

Yang Xiaobo, head of the Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, died of pneumonia caused by the virus on 17 January.[79]

US CDC dispatched 100 people to three American airports to screen travelers coming from Wuhan, China.[19]

18 January

After the first 41 laboratory-confirmed cases were identified on January 2, 2020,[12] Chinese officials announced no new cases for the next 16 days, then reported 17 additional laboratory-confirmed cases, three of which were in critical condition. This brought the number of laboratory-confirmed cases in China to 62. The patients' ages ranged from 30 to 79. 19 were discharged and eight remain critical.[80]

On the same day, the Wuhan City government held an annual banquet in the Baibuting community celebrating the Chinese New Year with forty thousand families in attendance despite the officials' knowledge of the spread of the novel coronavirus. They shared meals, plates and ate together.[81] On 21 January 2020 when Wuhan mayor Zhou Xianwang was asked on state television why this banquet was held even after the number of cases had risen to 312 he responded, "The reason why the Baibuting community continued to host the banquet this year was based on the previous judgment that the spread of the epidemic was limited between humans, so there was not enough warning."[82]

US HHS Secretary Alex Azar spoke to Trump on the phone about the virus, while which Trump interjected to ask when flavored vaping products would be back on the market.[18][19]

19 January

On 19 January, the first confirmed cases were reported in China, outside Wuhan, one in the southern province of Guangdong and two in Beijing.[83] Wuhan reported 136 additional laboratory-confirmed cases, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases in China to 201. A new death was also reported in Wuhan, bringing the total number of fatalities in China to three.[84][85]

20 January

On 20 January, after two medical staff were infected in Guangdong, China National Health Commission confirmed that the virus was human-to-human transmissible.[86] The investigation team from China's National Health Commission confirmed for the first time that the coronavirus can be transmitted between humans.[87]

Scientists from the China CDC identified three different strains of the 2019-nCoV confirming that the original Wuhan coronavirus had mutated into two additional strains.[88]

Chinese Communist Party general secretary (Paramount leader), Xi Jinping said “people’s lives and health should be given top priority and the spread of the outbreak should be resolutely curbed.”[86] State Council premier Li Keqiang urged decisive and effective efforts to prevent and control the epidemic.[89] First confirmed case reported in South Korea.[90] Beijing and Guangdong reported an additional three and thirteen laboratory-confirmed cases, respectively. Shanghai confirms its first case, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases in China to 218.[91][92] At least two people had become infected whilst living hundreds of miles from Wuhan.[93]

The United States and South Korea each reported their first confirmed case of the coronavirus to the World Health Organization on Jan. 20.[94][95] US CDC developed its own testing kit after China shared the genetic sequence on Jan. 10 and deployed it to detect the first coronavirus case. The testing kit used three small genetic sequences instead of two used by Germany. The test kits were found to be defective because the third sequence, or “probe,” gave inconclusive results.[37]

Five attendees of an as-yet-unnamed private international sales company meeting of 109 attendees, 94 from overseas, held from 20–22 January at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Singapore were diagnosed with the coronavirus upon returning home: one from Malaysia, two from South Korea and two from Singapore.[96][97] One of the attendees was from Wuhan, China. It was reported that the company held a buffet for their delegates. These four diagnoses were not reported until 5 February 2020.[98] The first laboratory-confirmed case in Singapore of an unrelated 67-year-old native of Wuhan was not reported until 23 January 2020.[99] These cases linked to the meeting were the first evidence that the Wuhan coronavirus had spread through human-to-human contact outside China, which the WHO has said is deeply concerning and could signal evidence of a much larger outbreak.[98] As of 5 February 2020, the sister of a Malaysian who attended the meeting had been infected and four more local staff in Singapore were confirmed as having virus symptoms.[98][100]

21 January

A total of 291 cases have now been reported across major cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai. However, most patients are in Wuhan, the central city of 11 million at the heart of the outbreak.[87]

A report by the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London suggested there could be more than 1,700 infections. However, Gabriel Leung, the dean of medicine at the University of Hong Kong, put the figure closer to 1,300.[87]

After 300 confirmed diagnoses and 6 deaths, Chinese state media warned lower-level officials not to cover up the spread of a new coronavirus.[87] Officials declared that anyone who concealed new cases would "be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity", the political body responsible for law and order said. The outbreak has revived memories of the SARS virus when the local Chinese officials initially withheld information about the SARS epidemic from the public and later vastly under-reported the number of people that had been infected, downplayed the risks and failed to provide timely information that experts say could have saved lives. In its commentary published online on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, the Communist Party's Central Political and Legal Commission talked of China having learned a "painful lesson" from the SARS epidemic and called for the public to be kept informed. Deception, it warned, could "turn a controllable natural disaster into a man-made disaster".[87]

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported at least 15 medical workers in Wuhan have also been infected with the virus, with one in a critical condition.[87]

WHO Situation Report 1:[95] (Please note that the WHO Situation Reports as official reportage stand on their own.)

Confirmed cases were reported in several new locations in China. Zhejiang province and Tianjin reported five and two laboratory-confirmed cases, respectively.[101][102] Guangdong reported three additional laboratory-confirmed cases.[103] Shanghai and Henan province reported an additional four and one laboratory-confirmed cases, respectively.[104] One laboratory-confirmed case was reported in Sichuan province, and Chongqing reported five laboratory-confirmed cases.[105][106] Shandong, Hunan, and Yunnan all reported one laboratory-confirmed case each.[107][108][109] Jiangxi reported two laboratory-confirmed cases.[110] The total number of laboratory-confirmed cases in China increased to 312 and the death toll increased to six.[105][111][112]

New cases were also reported outside of mainland China. Taiwan reported its first laboratory-confirmed case,[113] and the United States reported its first laboratory-confirmed case in the state of Washington, the first in North America.[114][115]

China's Wuhan Institute filed to patent the use of Gilead's remdesivir for the treatment of novel coronavirus.[116]

22 January

Animated map showing confirmed 2019-nCoV cases spreading from January 22.
(high resolution)

WHO Situation Report 2:[117]

'Health Commission: 440 cases of pneumonitis infected with new coronavirus have been diagnosed' - video news report from China News Service, 22 January 2020 (captions available in English)
'Infectious Disease Expert Discusses Coronavirus Threat with VOA' - Video news report from Voice of America with Dr. Anthony Fauci, 22 January 2020

New cases: Macau and Hong Kong reported their first laboratory-confirmed cases,[118][119] with Hong Kong reporting its second on the evening of 22 January.[120] Beijing reported an additional five laboratory-confirmed cases, while Guangdong reported an additional nine laboratory-confirmed cases. Shanghai reported an additional five laboratory-confirmed cases, while Tianjin reported an additional two laboratory-confirmed cases. Zhejiang and Jiangxi reported an additional five and one laboratory-confirmed cases, respectively.[121][better source needed] Liaoning reported its first two laboratory-confirmed cases.[122] Guizhou, Fujian, Anhui, Shanxi and Ningxia reported one laboratory-confirmed case each.[105][123][124][125][126][excessive citations] Hainan reported four laboratory-confirmed cases.[127] Hunan reported three additional laboratory-confirmed cases.[128] Guangxi reported two laboratory-confirmed cases.[129] In all, the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases in China increased to 571 and the death toll to 17.[citation needed]

Internationally, two more laboratory-confirmed cases were reported in Thailand, raising the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases in Thailand to four.[130]

New data showed indications of the current rapid spread of the disease and an increase in the rate of transmission.[131][132]

Officials announced a quarantine of the greater Wuhan, China area to commence on 23 January 2020 at 10:00 a.m. No traffic would be allowed in or out of the city.[133]

Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan, admitted that his team had not released information about the virus in a "timely" manner, resulting in over 5 million people traveled out of the city before Wuhan was placed in quarantine. Zhou indicated that Wuhan needed authorization from above before they could make any announcement regarding the virus.[134][135]

US Embassy in China raised the Health Alert to level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions).[136] President Trump during an interview at Economic Forum in Switzerland that "It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s—going to be just fine."[19][137]

23 January

WHO Situation Report 3:[138]

Jiangsu reported its first laboratory-confirmed case.[139] Heilongjiang reported its first two laboratory-confirmed cases.[140][141] Shanghai reported an additional seven laboratory-confirmed cases.[142] Xinjiang reported two laboratory-confirmed cases.[143] Shaanxi reported three laboratory-confirmed cases.[144] Gansu reported two laboratory-confirmed cases.[145] Macau also reported its second laboratory-confirmed case, another 66-year-old man from Wuhan.[146] In all, the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases in mainland China increased to 628 while the death toll remained at 17.[citation needed]

Singapore reported its first laboratory-confirmed case, a 66-year-old man from China.[147] Vietnam confirmed its first two laboratory-confirmed cases, a 65 or 66-year-old father and 27 or 28-year-old son from China.[148][149]

A scientific preprint from the Wuhan institute of Virology is posted on Biorxiv (later published in Nature[150]) announcing that a bat virus with 96% similarity had been sequenced in a Yunnan cave in 2013, whose sequence is posted the next day on public databases. It is confirmed by comparing infectivity of cells expressing or not expressing ACE2 that the novel coronavirus uses this same entry receptor as SARS-CoV.[151]

Wuhan suspended all public transportation from 10 a.m. onwards, including all bus, metro and ferry lines. Additionally, all outbound trains and flights were halted.[152] According to the Science magazine, the travel quarantine of Wuhan delayed the overall epidemic progression by only 3 to 5 days in Mainland China, but has a more marked effect at the international scale, where case importations were reduced by nearly 80% until mid February.[153]

24 January

A report by Chinese doctors and scientists published in The Lancet medical journal was titled "Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China". It indicated that people can be symptom-free for several days while the coronavirus is incubating, increasing the risk of contagious infection without forewarning signs. According to their data, 13 of the initial 41 cases of the novel coronavirus had no link with the wet market in Wuhan purported to be the origin of the disease, and the evidence taken as a whole indicated human transmission.[12] They strongly recommended personal protective equipment for health workers dealing with patients, stressed the need for testing for the virus, and because of its "pandemic potential" careful surveillance was essential. The significance of this was highlighted on 18 March by Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet.[154]

One of the earlier studies on person-to-person transmission was published by Hong Kong doctors in The Lancet titled "A familial cluster of pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus indicating person-to-person transmission: a study of a family cluster". In the "Evidence before this study" it declared that "we searched PubMed on Jan 13, 2020, with no starting date limitations, using the terms “family”, “pneumonia”, “Wuhan”, “coronavirus”, and “novel” for articles in English. Our search did not reveal any reports of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan before 2020. We only noted family clusters of pneumonia due to the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus in 2003, and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in 2012."[155]

WHO Situation Report 4:[156]

'Hong Kong confirms two new cases of pneumonia' - video news report from China News Service, January 24, 2020 (Captions available in English)

Shandong reported six additional laboratory-confirmed cases.[157] Hunan reported 15 additional laboratory-confirmed cases.[158] Liaoning reported one additional laboratory-confirmed case.[159] Fujian reported four additional laboratory-confirmed cases.[160] Anhui reported six additional laboratory-confirmed cases.[161] Ningxia reported one additional laboratory-confirmed case.[162] Shanghai reported 13 additional laboratory-confirmed cases, bringing the total up to 33.[163]

Japan, South Korea, and the United States all confirmed their second cases.[164][165][166] Singapore confirmed its second and third cases.[167] Thailand confirmed its fifth case.[168] Hong Kong confirmed three additional cases, bringing the total number to five.[169] Nepal confirmed its first case, a student who returned from Wuhan.[170] France reported its first three confirmed cases, the first occurrences in the EU.[171][172][173] The French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn stated that it is likely other cases would arise in the country.[174]

The first confirmed incidence of human-to-human transmission outside of China was documented by the WHO in Vietnam.[175]

A consortium of Chinese medical experts charged by the Chinese CDC with investigating the inception of the virus published their report in The Lancet, reporting details of 41 first known patients.[176]

By the end of the day, the entire Hubei province had gone under a city-by-city quarantine, apart from Xiangyang and Shennongjia Forestry District.[citation needed]

25 January

Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping called the "accelerating spread" of the coronavirus a "grave situation" in a Party Politburo meeting,[177] and that it was "mutating" as Beijing escalates measures to contain the illness.[178]

WHO Situation Report 5:[179]

Australia confirmed its first four cases, one in Victoria[180] and three in New South Wales.[181][182] Malaysia reported its first three cases in Johor Bahru,[183][184] and a fourth case later.[185] Japan confirmed its third case.[186] Canada confirmed its first case in Toronto.[187] Thailand added two new cases for a total of seven.[188] Singapore confirmed their fourth case.[189]

A Chinese and a Sri Lankan suspected with the infection were admitted to a hospital in Sri Lanka.[190]

Liang Wudong, a 62-year-old doctor, reportedly died in Hubei province from the coronavirus.[191]

26 January

WHO Situation Report 6:[192]

The Spring Festival holiday was extended to contain the coronavirus outbreak.[citation needed]

Shanghai reported its first death, an 88-year-old man.[193]

The United States confirmed its third, fourth, and fifth cases: two in California[194] and one in Arizona.[195] Macau confirmed three additional cases, bringing its total to five.[196] Hong Kong confirmed its sixth, seventh, and eighth cases.[197] South Korea has confirmed its third case.[198] Thailand has confirmed its eighth case. The first of five patients was already discharged. There are another 39 suspected cases awaiting confirmation.[199]

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) has started developing vaccines against the coronavirus, an official with the center said on Sunday.[200][201]

Health officials in Ivory Coast are dealing with a suspected case of coronavirus, the country's health ministry has announced.[202]

The United Nation's WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said he was on his way to Beijing to confer with Chinese officials and health experts about the coronavirus outbreak.[203]

China started requiring nationwide use of monitoring stations for screening, identification and immediate isolation of coronavirus-infected travellers, including at airports, railway stations, bus stations and ports.[204]

A tentative clinical profile for the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was published by an assistant professor of population health science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. The lethality of the virus is unknown; however, the death toll has now climbed to above three percent.[205]

Wang Xianliang, a Hubei provincial government official, died of pneumonia caused by the virus.[79]

27 January

WHO Situation Report 7:[206]

Gabriel Leung, Dean of the University of Hong Kong medical school and one of the foremost world experts on SARS and viruses, gave a three-hour presentation published on YouTube wherein he made nowcasts and forecasts of the coronavirus. Using traditional scientific modeling techniques that predict the spread of viruses, Leung projected the true number of coronavirus infections was likely 10 time more than the official reported numbers.[207] Leung estimated that there were between 44,000–100,000 infections in China as of 24 January 2020. He stated that draconian measures were needed to slow the progress of the virus but that these measures would have no effect in stopping the coronavirus pandemic. He projected that the number of infections would continue exponentially peaking out in late April or May 2020. Leung predicted that at the peak of the pandemic, there could be up to 100,000 new infections per day. Leung subsequently published an article in The Lancet nowcasting and forecasting the likely progression of the Wuhan coronavirus taking into consideration numerous variables.[208] Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan, said on a Chinese state television talkshow that rules imposed by Beijing limited what he could disclose about the threat posed by the Wuhan coronavirus as it unfolded, suggesting "the central government was partially responsible for a lack of transparency that has marred the response to the fast-expanding health crisis."[209]

Canada reported its first confirmed case and another presumptive case.[210] Health officials have confirmed the fifth case of coronavirus in Australia, and have suspected an additional 5.[211][212] The Sri Lankan Health Ministry confirms its first case of coronavirus, a 43 year old Chinese woman.[213] Cambodia confirms its first case of the virus, a Chinese man who came with his family to Sihanoukville.[214] Singapore confirms a fifth case, a 56 year old Chinese national who arrived from Wuhan on 18 January.[215] South Korea has confirmed its fourth case.[216] Germany confirmed its first case in Bavaria, a case of domestic transmission.[217][218] Taiwan reports its first case of domestic transmission of the coronavirus.[219]

Beijing reports its first death from coronavirus.[220]

Three new suspected cases in Austria; previous suspected cases tested negative.[221] The 'Matei Balș' Institute reported the first possible case in Romania.,[222] but the first case would not be confirmed until 26 February.[223][224] Ecuador reported a suspected case of coronavirus, a Chinese citizen who arrived from Hong Kong.,[225] but the first case would not be confirmed until 29 February.[226] Fiji authorities are holding six Chinese travelers in quarantine in Nadi as a precaution after they failed to gain entry to Samoa due to Samoa's quarantine requirements that were implemented Friday. The quarantine requirements, imposed after an emergency Cabinet meeting, compel anyone who's been in China to "self-quarantine" in a country free from the coronavirus for 14 days.[227] In Poland, two children were admitted to the Kraków hospital with the suspicion of coronavirus.[228] In Mongolia a 14-year-old girl who was studying in China had fallen ill with a suspected case of pneumonia and laryngitis; she was pronounced dead on the same day. Health authorities have since taken a sample from the deceased girl to be analysed at the National Center for Communicable Diseases in Ulaanbaatar.[229] Two Mongolian students returning from Taiwan to Chinggis Khaan International Airport have shown symptoms of high fever and rising temperature and were put into quarantine after landing in Mongolia.[229] In Switzerland, two people were put under quarantine at the Triemli Hospital in Zurich; both had previously been to China.[230] These cases later turned up negative.[231]

In Germany, the first specific, global case of coronavirus being transmitted by a person with no symptoms has been reported. The originally-infected individual is from Shanghai.[232][233][234][235][excessive citations]

South Korean health officials met with Korean life science company representatives to speed the development of a test.[236]

In the US, there were surging increase of warnings from its intelligence agencies toward the end of January and into early February. The then-acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney began convening regular meetings. In early briefings, however, officials said Trump was dismissive because he did not believe that the virus had spread widely throughout the United States.[18]

28 January

China's Supreme People's Court through a message 《治理有关新型肺炎的谣言问题,这篇文章说清楚了!》in its official WeChat account vindicated Dr. Li Wenliang and the other 7 doctors and said they should not have been punished as what they said was not entirely false.[237][238] The Court further stated that "based on the difference in cognitive level, different individuals may produce different degrees of false information about the same thing. We should permit the law's to have certain degree of tolerance towards individuals. For example, in the case of the 8 persons being punished by Wuhan Police for publishing "7 SARS cases diagnosed in the Huanan Seafood Market”, if we mechanically applying the law, since the new coronavirus infected pneumonia is not SARS, by saying SARS has emerged we can indeed determine that is fabrication of false information, and the information has caused chaos in the social order. In accordance with the law provided, administrative punishment and even criminal punishment can be justified for the act of fabricating and disseminating false information. However, the fact is the message is not entirely false. If society had at the time believed those 'rumours', and wore masks, used disinfectant and avoided going to the wildlife market as if there were a SARS outbreak, perhaps it will help us better control the coronavirus today".[239][240]

WHO Situation Report 8:[241]

Thailand confirms six more cases, bringing the total infected there to 14. Thailand's health minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, states that "we are not able to stop the spread" of coronavirus in the country.[242] Singapore confirms two more cases, bringing the total infected in Singapore to seven. That was followed by a Hubei-related suspension from 29 January.[243] Japan confirms 3 additional cases, bringing the total infected in Japan to seven, including a man who had never visited Wuhan. He was working as a tour bus driver and had driven a group from Wuhan earlier in January.[244][245] Germany's first confirmed case, reported the previous day, had occurred in a German citizen who had not travelled to China. However, he had close contact with a visiting Chinese colleague who reported starting to feel ill during her return flight to Shanghai and she was diagnosed with coronavirus infection after arriving in China. Germany confirmed 3 new cases, all of whom were coworkers of the first confirmed patient.[246] France confirmed its fourth case, an elderly Chinese tourist who is in critical condition.[247]

The Brazilian Ministry of Health reports three suspected cases ongoing in three locations: Belo Horizonte (MG), Curitiba (PR) and São Leopoldo (RS).[248] Canada reports a new presumptive case in British Columbia, a man in his 40s who had recently travelled to Wuhan.[249]

A UK-Chinese medical research paper reports a statistical model finding that "estimates suggest the actual number of infected cases could be much higher than the reported, with estimated 26,701 cases (as of 28th January 2020)."[250]

Scientists from The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) in Melbourne reported that they had successfully grown 2019-nCoV from a patient sample.[251]

Xiangyang became quarantined starting 00:00;[252] the entire Hubei province thus became quarantined save for Shennongjia Forestry District.[citation needed]

A senior medical adviser at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Carter Mecher, wrote on the night of Jan. 28, in an email to a group of public health experts scattered around the government and universities. “The projected size of the outbreak already seems hard to believe."[253]

29 January

WHO Situation Report 9:[254]

Tibet reported its first suspected case identified on the previous day[255] and declared a level 1 health emergency in the evening, the last mainland provincial division to do so.[256] Suspected cases have now been reported in all 31 mainland provincial divisions.[citation needed]

Companies in Hubei are required not to resume services before 13 February, and schools in Hubei are to postpone the reopening of schools.[257]

The UAE confirms its first case.[258] Shortly afterwards, an Emirates' news agency confirmed four people from a Chinese family to be infected.[259] Finland reports its first case of the virus in Lapland, found in a Chinese tourist who left Wuhan before Wuhan was locked down.[260] Singapore confirms three more cases of the virus, bringing the total infected to 10.[261] Malaysia confirms three additional cases, bringing its total to seven.[262] Japan reports four additional cases, including a tour bus guide that was on the same bus as one of the cases confirmed on 28 January[263] and three evacuated from Wuhan.[264] France confirmed a fifth case, the daughter of the patient in the fourth case.[265]

Two Chinese nationals were placed in isolation wards in Armenia amid the first suspected case of coronavirus in the country. The Chinese nationals were tourists travelling to Armenia from neighbouring Georgia. Liana Torosyan, the head of the Department of Infectious Diseases, advised that samples will be sent to European labs, as Armenia does not have the capacity to test for the novel coronavirus.[266] Brazil reports a total of 9 suspected cases in six states of the country.[267]

Air Canada is halting all direct flights to China following the federal government's advisory to avoid non-essential travel to the mainland due to the coronavirus epidemic. The suspension is effective Thursday and slated to last until February 29.[268]

Trump administration trade advisor Peter Navarro issued a memo warning that coronavirus could "evolv[e] into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans" and that the "risk of a worst-case pandemic scenario should not be overlooked". A critic of the Chinese government before the pandemic, Navarro argued for restrictions on travel from China.[269]

The Wuhan police clarified that Dr. Li Wenliang was not arrested nor fined, but was warned as he had spread that "there had been 7 confirmed cases of SARS", which was not true.[270]

30 January

WHO Situation Report 10:[271]

WHO declared the virus was a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and advised "all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoV infection, and to share full data with WHO."[272]

Tibet confirms its first case, which was previously suspected.[273] Cases have now been confirmed in all 31 provincial divisions of mainland China.[274] India confirms its first case of coronavirus in a student who had returned from Wuhan University to the Indian state of Kerala.[275] Philippines confirms its first case of coronavirus in a female Chinese national who arrived in Manila via Hong Kong on 21 January.[276] Japan confirms three more cases, bringing the total to 14.[277] Malaysia confirms one more case, bringing the total to eight.[278] Singapore confirms three more cases, bringing the total to 13.[279] South Korea confirms two more cases with one of them being the first human-to-human transmission there, bringing the total to six.[280] Vietnam confirms three new cases, bringing the total to five.[281] France confirms its sixth case.[282] Italy confirms its first two cases in a press conference by the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte.[283] Germany confirms its fifth case, an employee of the company where the four previously known cases are also employed.[284]

The United States confirmed its sixth case, the spouse of another patient in Chicago.[285] This is the first confirmed case of human to human transmission within the United States. Mr. Azar, Dr. Redfield and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci agreed that a ban on travel from the epidemic's center could buy some time to put into place prevention and testing measures. Dr. Redfield said in an interview that “There was so much we didn’t know about this virus,”“We were rapidly understanding it was much more transmissible, that it had a great ability to go global.” [19]

31 January

WHO Situation Report 11:[286]

The United Kingdom and Russia confirmed their first coronavirus infections.[287][288] The first Swedish and Spanish cases were confirmed.[289][290] The seventh confirmed case in the U.S. is in Santa Clara County, California.[291] A fourth case of coronavirus in Canada has been confirmed in London, Ontario.[292] Thailand confirmed five more cases with the first human-to-human virus transmission inside the country of a local taxi driver, bringing the total to 19.[293][294] Singapore confirmed three more cases including the first Singaporean patient, bringing the total to 16.[295] South Korea confirmed five more cases, bringing the total to 11.[296] Chinese health experts warn the public that coronavirus patients can become reinfected. China starts repatriating citizens to Wuhan.[297]

A senior leader at US Department of Health and Human Services said staff members were sent to Travis Air Force Base and March Air Reserve Base in late January and early February and were ordered to enter quarantined areas were not provided with proper safety-protocol training or equipment, with at least one person staying in a nearby hotel and leaving California on a commercial flight.[298]US bans the entry of foreign nationals who had been to China in the previous 14 days.[citation needed]

Events, reactions, and measures in mainland China

1 January 2020

Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, the source of the initial pneumonia cases, was closed on 1 January 2020 for cleaning and disinfection.[9] On the same day, Chinese state news reported that Wuhan police interviewed eight residents for spreading "misinformation" referring to the new infection as another SARS and "exaggerating" the danger.[299] However, CNA reported on the same date that Wuhan police said they had punished eight people for "publishing or forwarding false information on the internet without verification."[300]

On 1 January 2020, a genetic sequencing company was notified by the Wuhan Municipal Health Committee that further sequencing of novel coronavirus samples were no longer allowed, existing samples must be destroyed and all data must be kept secret.[301]

2 January

On 2 January 2020, Central Hospital of Wuhan banned its staffs from discussing the disease publicly or recording them using text or image that can be used as evidence; situation of individual patients can only be mentioned verbally when doctors change shift.[302]

3 January

On 3 January 2020, China's National Health Committee Office published an announcement classifying the novel coronavirus as a highly pathogenic microorganisms (type 2), and request all the samples to be handed to provincial or higher level health authority, other organization or person with the virus sample should either destroy or transfer them and keep the log, and emphasis that all data must be kept secret and prior approval from the authority will be needed before any results can be published.[301]

7 January

On 7 January 2020, Chinese Paramount leader and Party general secretary Xi Jinping raised demand on the prevention and control of the pneumonia epidemic caused by novel coronavirus in Wuhan in a Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China meeting, according to article published by himself in February.[303][304][305]

10 January

The gene sequencing data of the isolated 2019-nCoV, a virus from the same family as the SARS coronavirus, was posted on Virological.org by researchers from Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center and Fudan University, Shanghai. A further three sequences from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, and one from Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan were posted to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) portal.[49][44][50][51] The same day, Public Health England issued its guidance.[42]

Beginning of the 2020 Chunyun travel season in China.[306]

12 January

Hubei's provincial representatives from all over the province met in Wuhan until 18 January.[307]

Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, the facility that published the first genome sequence of the virus, was closed without reason.[308]

14 January

Reporters from Hong Kong being taken to police station after trying to film situation within Wuhan hospital.[309]

15 January

Representative from Chinese government and American government sign the phase one trade deal over bilateral trade conflict in Washington D.C.[310][311]

20 January

China's National Health Commission announced confirmation that the coronavirus had begun to be transmitted between humans.[312]

Chinese premier Li Keqiang urged decisive and effective efforts to prevent and control the epidemic.[89] Beijing and Guangdong reported an additional three and thirteen laboratory-confirmed cases, respectively. Shanghai confirms its first case, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases in China to 218.[91][92]

22 January

The government announced a quarantine until further notice, cancelling outgoing flights and trains from Wuhan, and suspending public transportation in Wuhan, effective 10:00 (02:00 UTC, UTC+08:00) on 23 January.[313] However, statistics compiled by the Chinese Railway Administration showed that on the same day approximately 100,000 people had already departed from Wuhan Train Station by the deadline.[314] Furthermore, many Wuhan residents bypassed the checkpoints by taking antipyretics, having seen tips shared on Sina Weibo.[314]

At the day's night, Wuhan government announced that citizens must wear face mask in public facilities.[315]

23 January

Wuhan suspended all public transportation from 10 a.m. onwards, including all bus, metro and ferry lines. Additionally, all outbound trains and flights were halted.[152] In Wuhan, construction began near midnight for a specialist emergency hospital, modelled after the Xiaotangshan Hospital during the 2003 SARS outbreak in Beijing, after it was proposed earlier in the afternoon. The new Huoshenshan Hospital opened on 3 February with a capacity of at least 1,000 beds.[316]The three provinces of Zhejiang,[317] Guangdong,[318] and Hunan[319] declared a level 1 public health emergency (the highest possible) in chronological order.[320]The release of all seven major films for the Lunar New Year was practically cancelled.[321] In an example of black humor, Plague Inc., which was released in 2012, surged to become the most popular app in China.[322]

24 January

The seven provinces, two autonomous regions, and all four municipalities of Hubei,[323] Anhui,[324] Tianjin,[325] Beijing,[326] Shanghai,[327] Chongqing,[328] Sichuan,[329] Jiangxi,[330] Yunnan,[331] Shandong,[332] Fujian,[333] Guangxi,[334] and Hebei[335] declared a level 1 public health emergency, in chronological order.[citation needed] The city of Jingzhou was quarantined, raising the number of people in quarantined cities to 35 million.[336] The entire Hubei province now came under a city-by-city quarantine, save for Xiangyang and Shennongjia Forestry District.[citation needed]

All 70,000 Chinese cinemas were closed until further notice.[337] Multiple tourist sites across China were closed until further notice, including Mount Wutai,[338] Pingyao, Yanmen Pass,[339] Xuanwu Lake, Qixia Mountain, Nanking Massacre Museum, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Canton Tower, Gulangyu,[340] Yu Garden,[341] Shanghai Disneyland,[342] West Lake, and Forbidden City.[343] Citing the coronavirus outbreak, Starbucks and McDonald's suspended some operations in China.[344]

The Beijing and Shanghai governments have "urged residents returning from coronavirus outbreak areas to stay at home for 14 days to prevent its spread."[345]

25 January

A level 1 health emergency was declared in the 10 provinces and three autonomous regions of Jiangsu,[346] Hainan,[347] Xinjiang,[348] Heilongjiang,[349] Henan,[350] Gansu,[351] Liaoning,[352] Shanxi,[353] Shaanxi,[354] Qinghai,[355] Jilin,[356] Ningxia,[357] and Inner Mongolia,[358] in chronological order. It is now in effect in all 30 of the 31 provincial-level divisions in mainland China with cases reported, the exception being Tibet.

China's National Health Commission had sent 1,230 medical staff in six groups to Wuhan City, central China's Hubei Province, to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak in the region. As of 25 January, three of the six groups began their work in the virus-hit area. Local media earlier reported that 450 military medical personnel have also landed in the city to offer support.[citation needed] Wuhan announced building a second emergency specialty hospital, named Leishenshan Hospital, with a planned capacity of 1,300 beds, to be in use in half a month.[359]

Beijing announced it will halt all inter-provincial bus and train services starting 26 January.[360][361]

The Politburo of the Communist Party of China met to discuss novel coronavirus prevention and control. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, stated that the country is facing a "grave situation" as the number of infected people is accelerating.[177][362]

Straco has shut Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, Underwater World Xiamen and Lixing Cable Car temporarily to curb the virus spreading around.[363]

26 January

The leading group on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak was established, led by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.[364] The leading group has decided to extend the Spring Festival holiday to contain coronavirus outbreak.[citation needed]

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) has started developing vaccines against the coronavirus, an official with the center said on Sunday.[200][201]

The city of Shantou declared a partial lockdown,[365] though this was quickly reversed.[366]

China banned all wildlife trade with immediate effect.[367][368][369]

The United Nation's WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said he was on his way to Beijing to confer with Chinese officials and health experts about the coronavirus outbreak.[203]

China started requiring nationwide use of monitoring stations for screening, identification and immediate isolation of coronavirus-infected travellers, including at airports, railway stations, bus stations and ports.[204]

Schools in Beijing would stay closed until further notice to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. Separately, the Beijing Government stated it will not lock-down the city.[370]

27 January

Temperature check at a Beijing metro station on 27 January 2020.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Wuhan, the centre of the virus outbreak, to direct the epidemic prevention work.[371]

China's Finance Ministry and National Health Commission extended 60.33 billion yuan (US$8.74 billion) to help contain coronavirus.[372]

Xiangyang announced the suspension of ferry services at 00:00 on 28 January,[252] putting the entirety of Hubei province under a city-by-city quarantine, save for Shennongjia Forestry District. The move came after the closure of its railway stations at 00:00 on 27 January, and shutting down of its airport and inter-city bus services earlier.[252]

Wuhan suspends visa and passports services for Chinese citizens until 30 January.[373]

The Shanghai government has said companies in the city are not allowed to resume operations before 9 February.[374] Chinese tech company Tencent asks staff to work from home until 7 February due to coronavirus.[375]

The mayor of Wuhan acknowledges criticism over his handling of the crisis, admitting that information was not released quickly enough. He said he would resign if it helped with public opinion but pointed out the local government was obliged to seek permission before fully disclosing information about the virus, and that their response had since become "tougher than others".[376]

Tangshan suspends public transit to prevent spread of coronavirus.[377]

28 January

Wanda Group waives all rent and property fees for all merchants from 24 January to 25 February, amounting to an estimated fee reduction of ¥3-4 billion (US$432–577 million).[378]

Sasseur REIT shuts four malls temporarily, with another seven outlet malls shut to slow the outbreak.[379]

Dasin Retail Trust shortens hours for its five malls and temporarily closed crowded places.[380]

ComfortDelGro Corporation, a Singapore transport company, was told by authorities to shut the Nanjing Comfort Delgro Xixia Driving Centre as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus. Other centres were unaffected.[381]

29 January

Tibet reported its first suspected case identified on the previous day[255] and declared a level 1 health emergency in the evening, the last mainland provincial division to do so.[256] Suspected cases have now been reported in all 31 mainland provincial divisions.

Companies in Hubei are required not to resume services before 13 February, and schools in Hubei are to postpone the reopening of schools.[257]

Chinese police drop their case against eight people, accused on 1 January of spreading "false rumours" about a "new SARS-like virus";[382] they have been referred to as "the eight brave (八勇士)" on some Chinese social media.[383]

CapitaLand temporarily shuts all four malls in Wuhan and both malls in Xian after instructions from local authorities, with supermarkets still open. The company's remaining 45 malls will operate shorter periods. It has also set up a 10 million Yuan fund to fight the coronavirus.[384]

30 January

As of 30 January, inter-provincial charter cars in mainland China and inter-provincial passenger routes to Hubei have all been suspended. Passenger transport on roads in ten provinces and municipalities including Hubei and Beijing has been suspended, inter-provincial passenger trains have been suspended in 16 provinces, urban bus routes have been suspended or partially suspended in multiple cities in 28 provinces, and urban rail transportation has been suspended in 5 cities including Wuhan.[385]

The Huanggang Communist Party committee announced the dismissal of its health chief, Tang Zhihong.[386]

Micro-Mechanics temporarily shuts its Suzhou factory after instructions from the authorities there due to the coronavirus, with operations to resume on 10 February.[387]

31 January

China National Railway Group announced that starting 1 February, rail ticket purchases must provide the traveller's mobile phone number (email address for foreign nationals).[388]

Reactions and measures outside mainland China

3 January 2020

Thailand began screening passengers arriving from Wuhan at four different airports.[49][389][390]

Singapore has also begun screening passengers at Changi Airport.[391]

6 January

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC) issued a travel watch at Level 1 ("Practice usual precautions") on 6 January, with recommendations on washing hands and more specifically advising avoiding animals, animal markets, and contact with unwell people if travelling to Wuhan.[29][25]

The US CDC offers to send a US team to assist Chinese experts in their research in regard to transmissibility, severity, and incubation period of the disease.[392]

Hong Kong began screening passengers arriving on trains stopped at Wuhan.[393]

20 January

On 20 January, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that it was "now very clear" that human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus had occurred, given that healthcare workers had been infected.[394]

21 January

The World Health Organization announced that it would hold an emergency meeting on the virus the following day to determine if the virus is a "public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)".[395]

The Panamanian government has enhanced its sanitary control and screening measures at all ports of entry, in order to prevent the spread of the virus, isolating and testing potential cases.[396]

22 January

North Korea closed its borders and banned foreign tourists over the virus.[397]

WHO's emergency committee was unable to reach a consensus—with one member stating that the vote was "50/50. Even."—on whether the outbreak should be classified as a PHEIC due to lack of information.[398] The committee will resume discussion the next day.[399]

Singapore formed a multi-ministry taskforce to deal with the virus. This comes after three more suspected cases are detected.[400]

23 January

Following Singapore's first confirmed case on 23 January, Singaporean airline Scoot cancelled flights to Wuhan between 23 and 26 January over the virus outbreak after a lockdown was imposed.[401] Schools have also asked parents to declare their travel plans and monitor their children's health. Other measures will also be taken to ensure the safety of students.[402][403] MINDEF has since issued two medical advisories to service personnel.[404]

Flights in and out of North Korea were halted. Coronavirus cases in Sinuiju were suspected and promptly quarantined for two weeks.[405]

24 January

Following the two laboratory-confirmed cases on 23 January, the Vietnam Aviation Authority sent a written directive requesting that all flights to and from Wuhan are to be cancelled immediately until further notice and that the tickets will be refunded.[406] Exceptionally, the Authority operates four special flights to carry Wuhan passengers home during the period from 24–27 January,[407] and a backward flight to evacuate Vietnamese citizens and diplomats.[408]

Border control measures in Singapore have been enhanced and extended to land and sea checkpoints, with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore starting temperature checks from noon of that day.[409][410]

The Russian Far East had closed its border with China until 7 February, while Russian tour operators were inhibited starting 27 January.[411]

25 January

Hong Kong declared a state of emergency[412] and announced it would close schools until 17 February.[413] Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park are closed until further notice.[414]

US consulate in Wuhan was closed and all US diplomats were "under ordered departure".[415] The United States announced plans to evacuate US citizens out of Wuhan by charter jet.[416] The US government later clarified that it only had limited capacity for private citizen evacuations.[citation needed]

26 January

Hong Kong announced it will ban anyone who has been to Hubei Province in the last 14 days from entering the city starting 27 January.[417]

Singers Andy Lau and Leon Lai have postponed their concerts in Hong Kong and Macau respectively.[418]

27 January

On 27 January, the WHO assessed the risk of COVID-19 to be "high at the global level".[419]

Mongolia closed its border with China, shut down schools until 2 March, and called for all public gatherings to be cancelled.[420] The pair of international border gates Hekou (Yunnan, China)–Lào Cai (Vietnam) are suspended against Chinese tourists. The decision was declared by the head of Lào Cai Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, after an urgent notice from Yunnan Province's authorities.[421][422]

The Government of Gilgit Baltistan decided to delay opening the China–Pakistan border crossing point at Khunjerab Pass, scheduled for February.[423]

Following the action from Hong Kong authorities, Macau stated that it will deny entry to visitors from the Mainland's Hubei province or those who had visited the province 14 days prior to arrival unless they are virus-free.[424]

Singapore imposed a 14 days leave of absence for those working in schools, healthcare and eldercare who travelled to China in the last 14 days. Students who returned from these places will do home-based learning instead. In addition, people who went to China the last 14 days must fill health and travel declarations and monitor health with temperature checks.[425][426][427]

Malaysia suspends all visa facilities for Chinese tourists from Hubei and its neighbouring provinces in China.[428]

Tijuana, Mexico receives its final scheduled non-stop flight from mainland China before a previously scheduled suspension of service. Passengers and crew were screened by health officials upon arrival to the Tijuana International Airport. Flights between Tijuana and Mainland China are scheduled to resume in May 2020.[429]

The USCDC expands travel advisory from Wuhan to the whole of Hubei Province.[430] Later that day, the US State Department raised the travel advisory for China to Level 3 ("Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security.") due to the coronavirus.[431] The same day, the USCDC again updates its travel health notice to Warning - Level 3, Avoid All Nonessential Travel to China.[432][433]

28 January

The Philippines and Sri Lanka suspended issuance of visas-on-arrival to Chinese nationals.[434][435]

Singapore announced a suspension from 29 January, 12pm of entry or transit for all new visitors with a recent travel history to Hubei within the last 14 days, or holders of China passports issued in Hubei.[243]

Hong Kong temporarily closes four of the eleven ports with the Mainland.[436] Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive, stated the high-speed rail service between Hong Kong and mainland China would be suspended starting 30 January and all cross-border ferry services would also be suspended in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.[437] Additionally, flights from mainland China would be cut in half, cross-border bus services reduced, and the Hong Kong government is asking all its employees (except those providing essential or emergency services) to work from home. In a later press conference, Carrie Lam said that the Man Kam To and Sha Tau Kok border checkpoints would be closed.[438]

Thailand starts scanning all travellers from China with immediate effect.[439][440]

The UK's Foreign Office warns Britons not to travel to mainland China unless their journey is essential. Existing advice against all travel to Hubei Province remains in place.[441]

The USCDC stated it was boosting staffing at 20 US airports that have quarantine facilities.[442]

Singer Miriam Yeung postponed a concert in Singapore, which was scheduled on 8 February. This comes after the virus situation in China worsened with most of the logistics coming from there.[443]

29 January

The government of Papua New Guinea banned all travellers from Asian countries and closed its border with Indonesia. The order takes effect from 30 January.[444][445]

Palau and Vanuatu temporarily suspended flights from mainland China, Macau, and Hong Kong until the end of February and restricted diplomatic work in those countries.[445] The Federated States of Micronesia is considering the same measures.[445]

The government of Kazakhstan suspended visa issuances to Chinese citizens. In addition, all transport links from and to China have been halted; accordingly, movement by train will stop on 1 February, and will stop by airplane from 3 February.[446] Georgia temporarily suspended all direct flights with China.[447]

Rasuwa Fort, which is a border crossing between Rasuwa District (Nepal) and Tibet (China), will be sealed for 15 days starting 29 January. The decision was preceded by a meeting between security and immigration authorities of two countries earlier that day.[448]

The WHO announces that its director-general has decided to reconvene their international health regulations emergency committee on 30 January to reconsider declaring a global health emergency, technically a "public health emergency of international concern" (PHEIC). The reconvening is due "mainly on the evidence of increasing number of cases, human-to-human transmission outside of China, and the further development of transmission."[449][450] The committee meeting is planned to start at 13:30 Geneva time.[451] Further, the WHO announces their having set up "The Pandemic Supply Chain Network (PSCN)" in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.[254]

The Government of Canada issued a travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel to China due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.[452] The Government of Canada also issued a regional travel advisory to avoid all travel to the Province of Hubei—including the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou—due to the imposition of heavy travel restrictions in order to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.[452] On the same day, the Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne announced that an aircraft would be sent to repatriate Canadians from the areas affected by the novel coronavirus in China.[453] As a result of the travel advisories issued by the Canadian government, Air Canada suspended all direct flights to China until at least 29 February.[454]

The Ministry of Popular Power for Health announced that the Rafael Rangel National Institute of Hygiene (Spanish: Instituto Nacional de Higiene Rafael Rangel) in Caracas will perform the detection of other respiratory viruses based on non-influenza types, including coronaviruses in humans. It is also the only health institute in the country with the installed capacity for the diagnosis of respiratory viruses in Venezuela and is able carry out logistics in the 23 states, the Capital District and Federal Dependencies.[citation needed]

British Airways and Lufthansa cancel all flights to and from mainland China.[455][456]

Singapore expanded temperature screening to cover all incoming flights with additional checks on flights from China and passengers from Hubei.[425]

The Panama Canal began to require all ships to report if they had any contact with coronavirus-infected countries. The Panamanian health ministry also established an isolation ward for coronavirus patients.[457][458]

30 January

Map of the WHO's regional offices and their respective operating regions.
  Africa; HQ: Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
  Western Pacific; HQ: Manila, Philippines
  Eastern Mediterranean; HQ: Cairo, Egypt
  South East Asia; HQ: New Delhi, India
  Europe; HQ: Copenhagen, Denmark
  Americas; HQ: Washington, DC, USA

The WHO director-general declares the coronavirus outbreak a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" (PHEIC), reversing two previous decisions after emergency committee meetings in the last week.[459][460][461] WHO also issued a warning that that "all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread" of the virus.[462]

Vietnam shuts down air traffic with China.[463] The Ministry of Public Security temporarily ceased issuing visa to Chinese citizens within the epidemic areas.[464] Additionally, crossing at gateways, airports, seaports are put under higher supervision, with strict monitoring and medical check-ups (applied to both humans and items; prohibited against wildlife animals and derivatives).[464] Later that day, after confirmation of the virus for the first three Vietnamese patients, the Prime Minister ordered for further visa restrictions apart from diplomatic work, suspension of activities at border gates (with China) which are still active, evacuation for citizens when necessary, and an emergency alert being considered.[465]

The Liaison Office between the two Koreas in the border town of Kaesong was shut down for an unspecified time regarding infection concern. The decision was made after negotiations between the representatives of both countries early in the morning on 30 January, informed by the Unification Ministry of South Korea.[466]

North Korea's news agency KCNA declared a "state emergency" and reported the establishment of anti-epidemic headquarters around the country.[467]

Singapore announced that every household was to receive four masks starting from 1 February.[468][469]

Russia announces restrictions on railway travel with China, such that only a direct train between Moscow and Beijing remains.[470]

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stated in a press conference that Italy had closed all air traffic to and from China.[283] It is believed that Conte has also called a cabinet meeting for Friday to discuss further actions.[471] Six thousand people are briefly quarantined on board an Italian cruise ship as tests are carried out on two Chinese passengers suspected of having coronavirus, a spokesman for the Costa Crociere cruise company said.[472] The same day, all passengers are released as it is found that the ill individual has the flu, not coronavirus.[473]

The US State Department issued an updated travel advisory as "Level 4: Do Not Travel to China." Its website stated that "Those currently in China should consider departing" and warning that "Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice".[474] Additionally, it authorised American diplomatic staff and their families to evacuate China.[475] The State of Washington in the US declared a Level 1 Emergency and activated its Emergency Response Center for dealing with the now global coronavirus outbreak.[476]

British foreign secretary Dominic Raab disclosed that the emergency flight containing about 120 Britons from Wuhan that was delayed by 24 hours was due to land at RAF Brize Norton on Friday morning, where the passengers will be taken to Wirral for a fortnight's quarantine.[477]

Trinidad and Tobago's health min­is­ter, Ter­rance Deyals­ingh, announced that Trinidad and Tobago had decided to implement restrictions on persons travelling from China. Persons who are living or who have visited China will be barred from entering Trinidad and Tobago unless they had already been out of China 14 days prior to attempting to travel to Trinidad and Tobago.[478]

Air France and KLM cancel all flights to mainland China until February 9.[479][480]

Two K-pop concerts in Singapore by Taeyeon and NCT Group respectively were postponed after the virus situation worsened.[481]

The National Library of Medicine began collection of website and social media reporting of the virus outbreak as part of its Global Health Events archiving.[482]

31 January

Russian authorities announced the border closure with China would be extended to at least 1 March.[483]

Authorities in Guangxi (China) and Lạng Sơn (Vietnam) announced the temporary suspension of nine auxiliary border gates (namely in pair: Tân Thanh - 浦寨, Chi Ma - 爱店, Cốc Nam - 弄怀, Bình Nghi - 平宜, Pò Nhùng - 油隘, Bản Chắt - 板烂, Co Sâu - 北山, Na Hình, and Nà Nưa) and border markets starting 31 January until 8 February, and prohibited all travel over cross-border trails.[484][485]

Singapore closed borders to all visitors arriving from mainland China (including passengers transiting through Singapore) except Singaporeans, Singapore residents and long-term visa holders. The measure took effect on 1 February at 11.59pm.[486][487][488]

Macau announced it would postpone schools indefinitely and that schools should contact students to arrange for assignments to be done online.[489] Hong Kong extends the public holiday to 2 March, and also requests all visitors who have been in Hubei in the past 14 days to be quarantined. All government employees may work from home until 9 February.[490]

Italy declared a state of emergency, the first EU country to do so,[491] and allocates an initial 5 million Euros to tackle the virus.[492]

The United States government declares a Public Health Emergency due to the coronavirus, and is closing its borders to all foreign nationals "who pose a threat of transmitting the virus from entering the country and would quarantine U.S. citizens returning from Hubei province in China, the epicenter of the outbreak, for up to 14 days," starting Sunday, February 2 at 5 p.m. The 195 Americans on the Air Force base in California whom were recently evacuated from Wuhan recently will also be quarantined.[493][494][495]

Jamaica's health min­is­ter, Christopher Tufton, announced a government decision to ban travel between China and Jamaica. All persons entering Jamaica from China will be subject to immediate quarantine for at least 14 days, and anyone who was allowed to land and shows symptoms of the virus will be put in immediate isolation.[496] In keeping with the new policy, 19 Chinese nationals who arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport on the evening of 31 January were denied entry, quarantined and put on a flight back to China on 1 February.[497]

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Health, Catalina Andramuño, announced that the country now possesses reagents for testing new cases locally, becoming the first in South America.[498]

LOT Polish Airlines cancels all flights to Beijing until 9 February.[499] Delta Airlines suspends all China flights, and American Airlines pilots sue for same action.[500][501] Later, American Airlines ceased flights to China as well.[502] Later still, United Airlines halts all flights to China, excepting San Francisco to Hong Kong.[503]

Basra International Airport in Iraq has declared that passengers of any nationality travelling from China will be denied entry.[504]

Turkish Airlines halted all flights to China until 9 February.[505]

K-pop band Got7's concert in Singapore, scheduled for 22 February, was postponed due to the virus.[506]

See also

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