The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic is a major public health emergency that has spread the fastest, caused the most extensive infections and been the hardest to contain since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
Under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, China has taken the most comprehensive, the strictest and the most thorough prevention and control measures to battle the epidemic. In their tenacious fight against the coronavirus, 1.4 billion Chinese people have pulled together in tough times and paid a tremendous price and sacrificed a lot.
With the joint efforts of the whole nation, the positive trend in preventing and controlling the epidemic in China has been constantly consolidated and expanded, and the restoration of normal production and everyday life has been quickened.
The pandemic has recently been spreading rapidly across the world, posing a formidable challenge to global public health security. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 had affected more than 200 countries and regions with over 1.13 million confirmed cases by April 5, 2020.
Virus knows no national borders, and the epidemic distinguishes no races. Only with solidarity and by cooperation can the international community prevail over the pandemic and safeguard the common homeland of humanity. Upholding the vision of building a community with a shared future for humanity, China has been timely releasing information on COVID-19 since the onset of the epidemic in an open, transparent and responsible manner, unreservedly sharing with the WHO and the international community its experience in epidemic response and medical treatment, and strengthening cooperation on scientific research. It has also provided assistance to all parties to the best of its ability. All these efforts have been applauded and widely recognized by the international community.
Based on media reports and information from the National Health Commission, scientific research institutions and other departments, Xinhua News Agency sorted out the main facts China has taken in the global joint anti-virus efforts to timely release epidemic information, share prevention and control experience, and advance international exchanges and cooperation on epidemic response.
The following timeline was arranged in chronological order.
Late December 2019
-- The Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in central China's Hubei Province detected cases of pneumonia of unknown cause.
Dec. 30, 2019
-- The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issued an urgent notification to medical institutions under its jurisdiction, ordering efforts to appropriately treat patients with pneumonia of unknown cause.
Dec. 31, 2019
-- The National Health Commission (NHC) made arrangements in the wee hours, sending a working group and an expert team to Wuhan to guide epidemic response and conduct on-site investigations.
-- The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission released a briefing on its website about the pneumonia outbreak in the city, confirming 27 cases and telling the public not to go to enclosed public places or gather. It suggested wearing face masks when going out.
-- Starting Dec. 31, 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission released briefings on the pneumonia outbreak in accordance with the law.
-- The NHC set up a leading group to determine the emergency response to the epidemic. The group convened meetings on a daily basis since then.
-- The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) received the first batch of samples of four patients from Hubei Province and began pathogen identification.
-- The NHC came up with a set of guidelines on early discovery, early diagnosis and early quarantine for the prevention and control of the viral pneumonia of unknown cause.
-- Starting Jan. 3, China has been regularly informing the WHO, relevant countries and regions and China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan about the pneumonia outbreak.
-- China began to inform the United States of the pneumonia outbreak and response measures on a regular basis.
-- The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission updated briefing on its website about the situation of viral pneumonia of unknown cause, reporting a total of 44 cases of viral pneumonia of unknown cause.
-- The NHC organized the China CDC and three other institutions to carry out parallel laboratory testing of the samples for pathogen identification.
-- The NHC and the Health Commission of Hubei Province jointly worked out nine documents on the outbreak, including a trial version of guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of viral pneumonia of unknown cause.
-- The NHC and relevant health departments in Hubei Province issued a treatment manual for viral pneumonia of unknown cause to all medical institutions in Wuhan City, and provided citywide training.
-- Head of the China CDC talked over phone with director of the U.S. CDC about the pneumonia outbreak. The two sides agreed to keep in close contact for information sharing and technological cooperation.
-- The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission updated briefing on the situation of viral pneumonia of unknown cause, reporting a total of 59 cases. Laboratory test results ruled out respiratory pathogens, such as influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, as the cause.
-- China informed the WHO about the outbreak updates.
-- The WHO released its first briefing on cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan.
-- The NHC gave a briefing on cases of pneumonia of unknown cause at a national health conference, calling for efforts to strengthen monitoring, analysis and study, and make timely response.
-- Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, made instructions on epidemic response when presiding over a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
-- The China CDC succeeded in isolating the first novel coronavirus strain.
-- An expert evaluation team from the NHC initially identified a new coronavirus as the cause of the epidemic.
-- Heads of China and U.S. CDCs talked over phone to discuss technological exchanges and cooperation.
-- An expert team from the NHC made public of the pathogen, saying a new type of coronavirus was initially identified as the cause of the viral pneumonia in Wuhan.
-- China informed the WHO about the epidemic, sharing with the WHO the initial progress in determining the cause of the viral pneumonia in Wuhan.
-- The WHO released on its website a statement regarding a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, saying that preliminary identification of a novel coronavirus in a short period of time is a notable achievement.
-- Research institutions including the Wuhan Institute of Virology(WIV) developed testing kits. Wuhan City organized tests of all relevant cases admitted at hospitals in the city.
-- Head of the NHC Ma Xiaowei talked over phone with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus about the epidemic response.
-- Head of China CDC exchanged information over phone with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
-- The China CDC shared with the WHO the specific primers and probes for detecting the novel coronavirus.
-- The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission updated briefing on the situation of viral pneumonia of unknown cause.
-- The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission changed the name of "viral pneumonia of unknown cause" to "pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus" for the first time in a briefing.
-- The China CDC, the CAMS and the WIV under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), as designated agencies of the NHC, submitted to the WHO the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was published by the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) and shared globally.
-- The NHC shared with the WHO about information on the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus.
-- The NHC held a meeting to instruct Wuhan authorities to further strengthen social management measures and body temperature monitoring of people at ports and stations, as well as reduce crowd gathering.
-- Delegations from the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and Taiwan visited Wuhan (until Jan. 14.)
-- Wuhan Municipal Health Commission updated the outbreak briefing on its official website, saying Wuhan had reported a total of 41 cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus as of Jan. 12.
-- The WHO issued on its official website a statement on the discovery of the novel coronavirus cases in Thailand, pointing out that China's sharing of the genome sequence enabled more countries to quickly diagnose patients.
-- The NHC held a national teleconference, making arrangements for Hubei Province and Wuhan City to strengthen epidemic prevention and control, while ordering the whole country to prepare for epidemic prevention and response.
-- The NHC unveiled the first version of guidelines on diagnosis and treatment for pneumonia caused by novel coronavirus, along with the guidelines on prevention and control measures.
-- After the optimization of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) diagnostic reagents was complete, Wuhan City took proactive measures to screen all patients treated in fever clinics or under medical observation in 69 secondary or above hospitals.
-- Foreign journalists asked about the epidemic for the first time at a press conference held by the Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing. Foreign ministry spokesperson said that China has timely informed the WHO and other international organizations of the outbreak and kept close communication with them.
-- The NHC sent seven inspection teams to different provincial-level regions to instruct local epidemic prevention and control work.
-- The NHC organized and sent a high-level expert team, headed by Zhong Nanshan, to Wuhan City to carry out on-site investigation into the prevention and control work (until Jan. 19).
-- The NHC released the second version of guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment for the pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.
-- The NHC distributed nucleic acid testing reagents to health departments across the country.
-- The China CDC communicated with the U.S. CDC on epidemic prevention and control.
-- Wuhan Municipal Health Commission updated the outbreak briefing on its official website, saying as of Jan. 17, Wuhan had reported a total of 62 confirmed cases, including 19 cases discharged after recovery, eight cases with severe symptoms, and two deaths.
-- Xinhua News Agency reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has made important instructions on the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus in Wuhan City and other places in Hubei Province, stressing the Party committees and governments at all levels must put people's safety and health as the top priority, make thorough plans, take effective measures to curb the spread of the virus, timely release information and deepen international cooperation.
--Xinhua News Agency reported that Premier Li Keqiang chaired an executive meeting of the State Council to make further arrangements on the prevention and control work of the pneumonia outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus.
-- A teleconference of the joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council was held in Beijing, at which Vice Premier Sun Chunlan stressed local authorities must take their responsibilities, strengthen the prevention and control measures, secure people's health, and maintain normal production and everyday life order.
-- Wuhan Municipal Health Commission updated the outbreak briefing on its official website: as of 10 p.m. on Jan. 19, Wuhan reported a total of 198 cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus, with 25 cured and discharged cases, three deaths.
-- The NHC held a press conference for the high-level expert team headed by Zhong Nanshan, who on the team's behalf confirmed human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus and called on people not to go to Wuhan except for extremely important reasons.
-- The NHC released a statement to classify the novel coronavirus pneumonia as a category B infectious disease under the law on prevention and control of infectious diseases, but take preventive and control measures of category A infectious diseases; the novel coronavirus pneumonia was put under quarantinable infectious disease management according to the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law.
-- The NHC published the second version of guidelines on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus pneumonia.
-- Researchers from City University of Hong Kong published a genetic analysis on the bioRxiv preprint platform, suggesting what animals that serve as the transmission vehicle of the 2019-nCoV remains to be identified.