It’s even the worst timing for any virus outbreak—-the spring festival rush is the so-far the biggest annual human migration on the planet, with billions of inter-provincial trips. The deadly COVID-19 coronavirus marks the darkest possible start of the 2020s in China, and as Cith of Wuhan, the birthplace of COVID-19 locked down, an epic rescue debuts.

‘Whens and Whats’ since December COVID-2019 2P


  • December 12, 2019
  1. Cases of pneumonia begin showing up in Wuhan, China.
  • December 31, 2019
  1. Pneumonia cases reported to the WHO. The virus is unknown.
  • January 1, 2020
  1. Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market shut down. Authorities believe wild animals sold there may be the source of the deadly virus.
  • January 5, 2020
  1. Experts rule out the possibility of SARS and MERS.
  • January 7, 2020
  1. Chinese authorities identify the virus as a novel coronavirus.
  • January 11, 2020
  1. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announces the first coronavirus death. A 61-year-old man, exposed to the virus at the seafood market, died on January 9 after respiratory failure caused by severe pneumonia.
  • January 13, 2020
  1. Thai authorities report coronavirus case, a Chinese national who arrived from Wuhan.
  • January 16, 2020
  1. Japan confirms Japanese man who traveled to Wuhan is infected with the coronavirus.
  • January 17, 2020
  1. A second coronavirus death is reported in Wuhan.
  • January 20, 2020
  1. China reports 139 new cases, including a third death.
  • January 21, 2020
  1. The first case of the coronavirus on US soil is confirmed in Washington state.
  • January 22, 2020
  1. Death toll rises to 17; in total 547 cases confirmed in China.
  • January 23, 2020图3
  1. Beijing cancels all Lunar New Year celebrations to avoid spreading the virus.
  2. WHO says the Wuhan coronavirus is not a public health emergency of international concern at the time.
  3. Wuhan lockdown, airport and railway stations closed.
  • January 25, 2020
  1. Australia’s first case of the coronavirus diagnosed in Clayton, Victoria.
  2. Hong Kong declares a virus emergency, cancels Lunar New Year celebrations and restricts links to mainland China.
  • January 26, 2020
  1. Death toll rises to 56, almost 2,000 cases confirmed. The third case is confirmed in the US.
  • January 27, 2020
  1. The death toll in China rises to 106, more than 4,500 people in China reported being infected.
  • January 30, 2020
  1. WHO declares coronavirus a global emergency. 
  2. The first confirmed case of person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus in the U.S. reported.
  • January 31, 2020
  1. The United States announces it will deny entry to foreign nationals who have traveled to China in the last 14 days.
  • February 1, 2020
  1. The death toll in China rises to 259, with nearly 12,000 confirmed cases in the country. 
  1. Australia announces it will deny entry to foreign nationals (not including permanent residents) who have traveled to China in the last 14 days.
  • February 2, 2020
  1. A man in the Philippines dies from the Coronavirus. This is the first death reported outside mainland China since the outbreak began.
  • February 4, 2020
  1. Japan announces 10 people aboard the Diamond Princess a cruise ship are confirmed to have the coronavirus. The ship, carrying more than 3,700 people, is placed under quarantine at a Japanese port.
  • February 5, 2020
  1. The global death toll rises to 565, with 28,275 confirmed cases. 
  • February 8, 2020
  1. US citizen dies in Wuhan, marking the first confirmed foreign death from the coronavirus outbreak.
  • February 9, 2020
  1. The global death toll reaches 813, overtaking the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003.
  • February 11, 2020
  1. The WHO officially names the disease caused by the Wuhan coronavirus as ‘COVID-19’.
  • February 12, 2020
  1. The number of people infected onboard the Diamond Princess ship rises to 175.
  • February 13, 2020
  1. The death toll in mainland China hits 1,300, with nearly 60,000 infections recorded.
  2. PM Scott Morrison announced that Australia will extend denial of entry to foreign nationals who have traveled to China.
  • February 14, 2020
  1. Chinese health officials report more than 1,700 medical workers have been infected by the coronavirus, six have died.
  2. Africa’s first case of the coronavirus is reported in Egypt.—edited from
  • February 16, 2020
  1.   China reports slight fall in new COVID-19 cases as France confirms first death outside Asia.
  • February 17, 2020
  1.   Diamond Princess cruise ship COVID-19 infections reach 355. 图2

Unfortunately, it continues.

The Counter-virus Medical Professionals

Dr. Zhong NanShan


“Now we can say it is certain that it is a human-to-human transmission phenomenon,” said Zhong Nanshan in late January. This statement marks the official recognition of coronavirus’ interpersonal infection.

Dr. Zhong Nanshan (born 20 October 1936) is a Chinese epidemiologist and pulmonologist who discovered the SARS coronavirus in 2003. He was president of the Chinese Medical Association from 2005 to 2009 and is currently the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Thoracic Disease.

Zhong earned international fame for managing the SARS outbreak, and was renowned for refuting the official line which downplayed the severity of the crisis. He was voted one of China’s top 10 scientists in 2010. During the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, he was again appointed a leading advisor in managing the crisis.

In an interview with Reuters, Zhong Nanshan, an 83-year-old epidemiologist who won fame for combating the SARS epidemic in 2003, shed tears about the doctor Li Wenliang who died last week after being reprimanded for raising the alarm.

But Zhong was optimistic the new outbreak would soon slow, with the number of new cases already declining in some places. The peak should come in middle or late February, followed by a plateau and decrease, Zhong said, basing the forecast on mathematical modelling, recent events and government action.

“I hope this outbreak or this event may be over in something like April,” he said in a hospital run by Guangzhou Medical University, where 11 coronavirus patients were being treated. Though his comments may soothe some global anxiety over the coronavirus – which has killed more than 1,700 people and seen more than 70,000 cases, almost all in China – Zhong’s previous forecast of an earlier peak turned out to be premature.—edited from Reuters

Dr. Li WenLiang


Dr Li Wenliang is being mourned as a “hero who was willing to speak the truth” after the ophthalmologist died of the virus he warned about at the age of 34. 

Despite earlier conflicting reports, the Wuhan hospital where Li worked has now confirmed in a statement on its official Weibo account that he died at 2.58am local time on Friday Feb 7, 2020.

He publicly revealed he had tested positive for the coronavirus in a Weibo post on 1 February. The doctor was taken to hospital for the illness after he caught it from a patient.  

Dr Li initially raised the alarm about the disease when he posted a message on WeChat to communicate with a group of doctors that he had received positive test results for a “SARs-like” coronavirus from a patient. 

He posted that seven cases of this virus had been linked to a seafood market in Wuhan. For that action he was rebuked by the Wuhan police bureau, which sent him a letter on 3 January, accusing him of rumour-mongering.

“[You have] severely disrupted social order,” the letter read.  He was asked to sign a letter to stop his actions or face criminal charges.  Hashtags calling for a government apology and freedom of speech trended on Weibo in the wake of news of his death, before being deleted by censors. 

Responding to growing anger at the initial delay in revealing the coronavirus, China’s Supreme Court criticised Wuhan police for their actions against the so-called rumour-mongers. “It might have been a fortunate thing for containing the new coronavirus, if the public had listened to this ‘rumour’ at the time, and adopted measures such as wearing masks, strict disinfection and avoiding going to the wildlife market,” the Supreme Court statement said.

Wuhan officials first declared the outbreak on 30 December, with the World Health Organisation notified the next day.—edited from SBS

Singer Han Hong Does Care


Singer-songwriter Han Hong takes real efforts to help Wuhan, the city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak. She had planned to stage the first concert of her 2020 national tour in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Feb 29. But the coronavirus outbreak, which began in the provincial capital, forced her to cancel the show. She also called upon celebrity friends and ordinary people to donate to the hardest-hit city. Hospitals in particular need masks, protective suits and goggles.

“I want to call on my friends in the art circles to donate and help people affected by this terrible virus outbreak,” the 48-year-old said on her Sina Weibo account, which has over 13 million followers.

Han updates donation information, such as accounting records, and details about the transportation and distribution of medical supplies, on Sina Weibo. “We all have the urge to help. We’re doing our best,” Han wrote.

She also credits donors for showing love and calls for more fundraising, which should be open and transparent.

“I trust her. She’s more than a pop star. She has the power to influence and make a difference,” a fan posts on Han’s Sina Weibo.

In 2008, Han staged a charity performance for Wenchuan, Sichuan province, after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck the region. This inspired her to found her foundation. Over the years, she has donated to people affected by various disasters, including an earthquake in Yushu, Qinghai province, in 2010; a huge mudslide in Zhugqu county, Gansu province; and a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in Yingjiang county, an impoverished community in Yunnan province, in March 2013.

“I almost spent my savings to donate after disasters. That’s what I want and what I can do,” Han said in an interview in 2015.—edited from Chinadaily

Dr. Zhang Xiaochun


In early February, China was racing to screen ever more patients in Hubei Province, acknowledging that delays in diagnosing the virus are a major obstacle to controlling the epidemic. Dr. Zhang Xiaochun, who works in a hospital in Wuhan, seeing her patient had been running a fever for nine days, and a CT scan showed signs of pneumonia — symptoms of the coronavirus.

But a test to confirm the diagnosis would take at least two days. To Dr. Zhang, that meant a delay in isolating her patient — and getting potentially lifesaving treatment. Therefore, Dr. Zhang started a social media campaign with an urgent call to simplify screening for the new coronavirus. It was an unusually public effort that quickly found support among public health experts and the government as China grapples with one of the deadliest epidemics in its recent history.

A major bottleneck has been a shortage of nucleic acid testing kits used to confirm the presence of the coronavirus. So Dr. Zhang proposed that doctors could first use CT scans to detect pneumonia and quickly isolate and treat patients who have it.

Two days after Dr. Zhang posted her proposal online, the Chinese government issued the fifth and latest edition of its national diagnosis and treatment plan. It included a significant change: Doctors in Hubei Province should use CT scans to make a clinical diagnosis of suspected coronavirus infections. The testing kits would then be used to confirm the coronavirus infection.—edited from The New York Times

Dr. Zhang WenHong


Zhang Wenhong, a leading infectious disease expert at the Fudan University-affiliated Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, has been tasked with leading such a team in the eastern megacity.

He spoke to media, including Sixth Tone, at a press event.

130 deaths and 6,000 confirmed infections are big, alarming numbers — but they should be considered within their full context, according to Zhang.“The soaring number of confirmed patients these days, especially in Wuhan, is because of improved detection capabilities,” the doctor said. 

Now, anyone who is sick or thinks they might be sick is being evaluated by medical staff, he said, and there’s a greater likelihood they’ll have access to test kits for the novel coronavirus. On Tuesday, China’s National Medical Products Administration approved two more 2019-nCoV nucleic acid test kit products, adding to the four products already on the market.

“Wuhan is trying to ascertain the total number of existing cases,” Zhang said. “This does not mean an exacerbation of the epidemic situation, but rather that adequate diagnostic measures are in place.”

Zhang suggests there are three outcome scenarios: one good, one bad, one ugly

  • Scenario 1: Win
    “This would entail no patients still requiring treatment after two to four weeks, and controlling the epidemic within two to three months. This, of course, is the most optimistic situation.”
  • Scenario 2: Hold
    “This means we partially control the epidemic, with cases continuing to climb, but at a mild rate. The anti-epidemic measures (under this scenario) might last from six months to one year, as was the case with SARS.”
  • Scenario 3: Failure
    “This means the new virus would evolve to become a recurring seasonal disease,” Zhang said, adding that such an outcome would be ‘so dangerous’.

“What we want to do is erase the virus from the human realm, driving it back into nature, back to the wild, back into its cave,” Zhang said. “When can we manage to do that? It’s hard to tell. At present, we can only hear the clock tick without knowing what time it is.”—edited from sixthtone

Edited by Joreal Qian