In December 2019, an outbreak of an unknown virus causing pneumonia-like symptoms was discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan. This new coronavirus (technically named SARS-CoV-2; the disease caused by the virus is COVID-19) is thought to have originated at a 'wet market' in the city, where various animals, both live and dead, were sold. This was similar to how the SARS outbreak, also a coronavirus, started in 2002.
Doctors in Wuhan were at first admonished by police for reporting a new virus to their colleagues, before the Chinese government informed the World Health Organization of the mysterious infection on December 31. Among these doctors was Li Wenliang, who helped blow the whistle on the infection, before later dying of it in hospital.
COVID-19 spread around the world rapidly and led to vast and severe global economic disruption. Many countries moved into strict lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus, and at one point as many as 99.4% of the student population across the entire planet was affected by school closures on a national or local level. These lockdowns had a severe impact on business; in the span of three weeks in the United States, almost 17 million people applied for unemployment benefits.
Vast numbers of events were postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic, including the Olympic Games, which were postponed to 2021. Other concerns have arisen out of the pandemic, including the spread of misinformation online and incidents of racism against people of Asian ethnicity.
The United Nations described the pandemic as the greatest test the world has faced since World War II.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
- 2019-12-01 Earliest traceable patient, a 55-year-old man, develops symptoms of a novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in Wuhan, China
- 2020-01-23 China locks down the city of Wuhan and its 9 million people, in a belated but ultimately successful effort to control the city's COVID-19 epidemic
- 2020-02-27 Dow Jones Index suffers its biggest points fall in history closing down 1,190.95 in New York amid concerns about COVID-19
- 2020-03-09 Italy announces it is locking down the whole country due to a spike in COVID-19 cases with 10,040 cases and 630 deaths
- 2020-03-11 COVID-19 declared a pandemic by the head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, with 121,564 cases worldwide and 4,373 deaths
- 2020-03-22 India puts 1 billion people under a daytime curfew to curb COVID-19
- 2020-03-23 COVID-19 lockdowns imposed in South Africa and the United Kingdom while other European nations extend and strengthen their lockdowns
- 2020-03-24 Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe announces postponement of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games until summer of 2021 because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic
- 2020-03-25 United Kingdom's Prince Charles tests positive for COVID-19
- 2020-03-26 American cases of COVID-19 exceed all other countries on this date, with 81,578 cases and 1,180 deaths (New York Times)
- 2020-03-30 International Olympic Committee announces postponed 2020 Summer Olympic Games will be held July 23-August 8 in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic
- 2020-04-02 Number of COVID-19 cases worldwide passes 1 million, with 1,002,159 cases and 51,485 deaths reported, according to Johns Hopkins University
- 2020-04-05 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted to hospital suffering from COVID-19
- 2020-04-06 Nadia, a tiger at the Bronz Zoo, tests positive for COVID-19, 1st known case of human-to-cat transmission
- 2020-04-11 Brazil is the 1st country in the southern hemisphere to report more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19, with 1,056 deaths and 19,638 cases
- 2020-04-14 US President Donald Trump freezes funding for the World Health Organization pending a review, for mistakes in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and for being "China-centric", prompting international criticism
- 2020-04-19 Turkey passes Iran to become the Middle Eastern country with the most COVID-19 cases with 86,306 infections, Iran continues to have the most deaths
- 2020-04-27 Global confirmed cases of COVID-19 pass 3 million with the death toll at 205,000. US has 1/3 of all new cases.
- 2020-04-28 US confirmed cases of COVID-19 pass 1 million, while death toll of 58,365 surpasses that of US soldiers killed in Vietnam War (Johns Hopkins)
- 2020-05-06 UK becomes the first European country to report over 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19
British Prime Minister
45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality
Head of the World Health Organisation
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Paramount Leader of China