BEIJING, April 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As more countries take stringent measures to stem the spread of the disease, CGTN charts the progress of COVID-19 over the past months.
Since early December, people in Wuhan had been falling ill with respiratory problems.
On December 27, 2019, Zhang Jixian, head of a hospital’s respiratory department in Hubei Province, reported a new contagious disease to health officials after treating patients with flu-like symptoms.
Three days later, lab results for a patient at Wuhan Central Hospital showed "SARS coronavirus". Dr. Ai Fen, the emergency department head, took a photo of the report, which soon circulated among Wuhan doctors.
Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist, shared the photo with his former medical school classmates in a private WeChat group, alerting them to a "SARS-like" coronavirus.
On December 31, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issued a statement confirming 27 viral pneumonia cases tied to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was shut down the next day.
Health authorities then identified a new strain of coronavirus as the cause of the unknown pneumonia by testing the genetic makeup of a virus sample obtained from an infected patient.
On January 11, Wuhan’s health officials reported the first confirmed fatality stemming from the coronavirus – a 61-year-old man died of severe pneumonia on January 9, who was a regular customer of the Huanan Seafood Market.
Meanwhile, more infected cases were popping up.
At the peak of the annual holiday travel rush, Chinese authorities ordered a lockdown on Wuhan, Hubei’s capital with a population of 11 million.
The lockdown was then extended to a dozen cities in Hubei Province.
A global emergency
On January 30, the WHO declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
In the following days, many countries limited or barred the entry of Chinese nationals, suspending inbound flights and imposing strict travel restrictions.
Within a short span of time, France announced the first death from the coronavirus in Europe, while South Korea reported a cluster of over 1,600 infections linked to a church in Daegu. All signs pointed to a coming global outbreak.