BEIJING – The 11 million people who live in the Chinese city of Wuhan have spent the past month in quarantine, a historical first with no end in sight.
Local authorities announced the lockdown in the early hours of the morning of Jan. 23 at which time the coronavirus outbreak had caused 17 deaths and 444 infections in the central-eastern city.
Thirty days later, the deadly virus has left 1,865 dead and infected 46,201 others.
Here are some of the main events in the epidemic:
- December 30: Ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, 33, reported that seven patients had been admitted to hospital in Wuhan with a SARS-like coronavirus. Police rebuked Li for “spreading rumors” and ordered him to sign an apology letter.
- December 31: The Chinese government informed the World Health Organization of the detection of a new kind of virus.
- January 5: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announced 59 patients had an “unexplained diagnosis of viral pneumonia” and had been isolated.
- January 11: The first death was announced in Wuhan, a 61-year-old man who had been in the Huanan seafood market.
- January 21: Renowned Chinese pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan confirmed the virus can be transmitted among humans.
- January 23: Wuhan authorities announced all transport would be closed and no one would be allowed to enter or leave the city “without special reason.” Another seven cities in the Hubei province also imposed quarantines, affecting more than 25 million residents.
- January 27: China extended the New Year’s holidays until February 3 and indefinitely closed schools. The first coronavirus death was recorded in Beijing.
- January 28: Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang admitted his government took too long to share information about the outbreak, claiming they needed approval from higher bodies to make it public.
- January 29: Evacuations of foreigners from Wuhan began, with 600 Europeans demanding their governments repatriate them.
- January 30: Hubei Governor Wang Xiaodong said there was a serious shortage of medical supplies in Wuhan, especially masks and protective suits.
- February 5: Chinese authorities announced hotels, congress centers and sports halls would be turned into clinics to deal with the lack of space to care for those affected.
- February 6: Shocking testimonies were published on the situation of health workers in Wuhan, with many going 15 hours without being able to eat, drink or go to the bathroom due to a lack of protective clothing.
- February 7: Dr. Li Wenliang died after contracting the disease, unleashing a flood of messages of regret and criticism of the authorities for their treatment of him.
- February 8: The United States embassy in Beijing confirmed the death of a 60-year-old American in Wuhan.
- February 12: Movements in Wuhan and other major cities in Hubei were further restricted, with inhabitants only allowed to leave home once every two days to buy food and essentials.
- February 13: Beijing dismissed Hubei party secretary Jiang Chaolinag, the highest provincial authority, and replaced him with the hitherto mayor of Shanghai Ying Yong.
- February 14: It was announced that more than 1,700 health professionals have been infected with the virus in Hubei and six had died.
- February 18: Death of Dr. Liu Zhiming, director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, the main center of care for patients with the coronavirus.
- February 20: Death of pulmonologist Peng Yinhua, 29, who delayed his wedding to continue treating pa
- tients in Wuhan.
- February 23: China reported a decline in the number of new cases, but not in Hubei or Wuhan.