Coronavirus Timeline (January): COVID-19 cases cross 9,700 worldwide

Update as of 31 January 2020: Number of people affected rises to 9,776 worldwide, with 213 deaths and 187 recovered so far, as per the latest GISAID update

The novel coronavirus outbreak that began in the city of Wuhan in China has spread across the country. It has claimed 213 lives and infected 9,776 people so far. Several cases have been reported in many countries across the world, triggering panic about a 2003 SARS-like global outbreak.

We give you a chronological breakdown of the situation over the past few weeks. Here's a screengrab showing the latest status of coronavirus across the world:

Coronavirus status as of 31 January, 2020
Coronavirus status as of 31 January, 2020 GISAID

Dec. 31, 2019: The World Health Organization (WHO) is notified by China that several cases of pneumonia caused by an unknown virus were reported in Wuhan City, in the central province of Hubei.

Jan. 1, 2020: Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan is closed down as many of the infected individuals are found to be employed there.

Jan. 5: China rules out the recurrence of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus that killed over 770 people across the world in 2002-03.

Jan. 7: WHO states that China has announced the discovery of a new coronavirus, similar to SARS and the Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS), responsible for the sickness.

Representational Picture

Jan. 9: A 61-year-old man who had shopped at the market dies. His heart failed after treatments to alleviate his symptoms proved ineffective. He becomes the first casualty of the mystery disease though he had abdominal tumors and chronic liver disease prior to falling ill.

Jan. 11: China officially announces the sexagenarian's death and its status as the nation's first death caused by the virus.

Jan. 12: Preeti Maheshwari, 45, a school art teacher at the International School of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, becomes the first foreigner with symptoms of 2019-nCoV, admitted to the Shekou Hospital.

Jan. 13: A woman who had travelled to Thailand from Wuhan becomes the first case reported by WHO outside China.

Jan. 16: A man who had visited Wuhan is announced as Japan's first reported case by its health ministry.

Jan. 17: Authorities in the US begin screening passengers at three airports upon their arrival from China as Wuhan reports its second death. Soon, Australia, France, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the US, and Vietnam confirm the detection of 2019-nCoV cases.

Jan. 20: The third death is reported by China, where over 200 infections have been reported, including in other cities such as Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai.

Jan. 20: With the Lunar New Year holiday around the corner, an expert on infectious diseases from China confirms on China Central Television (CCTV) that human-to-human transmission is possible, triggering the panic button about a massive outbreak soon.

Jan. 22: Over 550 infections are reported, and the death toll rises to 17 in China. Flights from Wuhan become subjects of extra checking measures.

Jan. 23: Air and rail travel is suspended in Wuhan and the city is placed under quarantine. Two more cities from the same province, Chibi and Xiantao, are also placed under quarantine.

Jan 23: WHO says the outbreak does not qualify to be declared a 'public emergency of international concern', as sufficient evidence of the human-to-human transmission outside China is not available.

Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland Official Website

Jan. 24: The Chinese government reports over 830 infections, and the number of causalities rises to 26. Disneyland in Shanghai and the Great Wall are among many public parks or entertainment venues closed. Over 41 million people are affected as 13 cities in Hubei province announce shutdowns.

Jan. 25: The number of people affected by lockdowns rises to 56 million as five more cities in Hubei province, announce travel restrictions. Events to celebrate the Lunar New Year are cancelled by Beijing, while Hong Kong declares the virus an emergency and restricts links to the mainland. The first death outside Hubei is reported.

Jan. 26: New confirmed cases are reported in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea and the US. Ocean Park theme parks and Disneyland in Hong Kong are shutdown. Though travel restrictions increase, over 2,000 cases of infections are confirmed, and the number of deaths rises to 56.

Jan. 27: Death toll rises to 81. Most of the deaths, 76, are in Hubei province — the ground zero. The first death is reported in the city of Shanghai. In all, 2,794 cases are confirmed.

-- CDC issues a level 3 alert — its highest level on a scale of 1 to 3 — and warns against any nonessential travel to China.

Jan. 28: China says that the death toll within the country has reached 106. The number of infected sees a drastic jump to 4,474. Most of the cases, 2,714, reported in Hubei. The total number of reported cases in Thailand increases to 14, the highest among other countries.

Jan. 29: A sharp spike is seen in the number of infected as it rises to 6,057 overnight. The death toll increases to 132. Japan, Turkey, and the US begin evacuating their nationals from the city of Wuhan.

British Airways
Twitter grab/Royal Dutch Airlines

-- British Airways becomes the first international commercial carrier to discontinue flights to and from China. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) reports its first cases of the coronavirus, making them the first in the Middle East region.

Jan. 30: Over a thousand new infection cases are reported, increasing the numbers to 7,783. The number of people succumbing to the infection rises to 170. US and Japan extract some of their citizens from Wuhan. However, the extraction of UK citizens is delayed due to non-authorisation by Chinese authorities.

-- European furniture giant, Ikea, temporarily suspends operations in China. The Australian government announces that all citizens evacuated from Wuhan will be quarantined at a detention facility in Christmas Island in order to prevent a mainland outbreak of the infection.

-- Australia, South Korea and Vietnam report new cases, while India reports its first case of an Indian student studying at Wuhan University, who returned home with the virus.

Jan. 31: WHO declares the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency as nearly 2,000 new cases are confirmed overnight, bringing the tally to 9,776. The number of deaths rises to 213. The German Foreign Ministry and the US State Department issue advisories dissuading their citizens from travelling to China.


-- South Korea and France continue to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, while Japan raises its infectious disease advisory level for China to Level 2. The US announces its first person-to-person transmission case. With misinformation about the disease increasing, Facebook announces that it will remove posts that promote misinformation and false cures for the outbreak.

--The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) event scheduled to be held in Wuhan is cancelled, and a women's Olympic qualifying tournament featuring Australia, China, Taiwan and Thailand is moved to Australia from Wuhan.

(This is a developing story and the timeline will be updated on a daily basis)

This article was first published on April 14, 2020
Related topics : Coronavirus