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Coronavirus: A Six-Month Timeline

Key developments since the novel coronavirus emerged six months ago, setting out on a global rampage which has left more than half a million people dead.

– First report -On December 31, 2019, China reports to the World Health Organization (WHO) a “cluster” of pneumonia cases “of unknown cause” in the city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

– New virus -On January 8, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) says a new coronavirus could be behind the outbreak.

China announces its first death in Wuhan on January 11. 

Through January, cases emerge outside China.

– Epicentre quarantined – France is the first country to report a case in Europe, at the end of January.

Hubei province follows Wuhan in enforcing quarantine on January 25.

– International emergency -On January 28, Germany and Japan announce the first two confirmed instances of human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 outside China.

Nations rush to evacuate their citizens from China.

On January 30, the WHO declares a “public health emergency of international concern”, without recommending limiting travel and trade with China.

– First death outside Asia -On February 15 France reports the first death confirmed outside Asia, a Chinese tourist.

Trade shows, sporting competitions, arts events and festivities are cancelled. Flights to China are suspended.

The number of cases spirals in Italy, South Korea and Iran.

On February 26 the number of new cases in the rest of the world surpasses that of China.

– Italy lockdown -By March 6, more than 100,000 cases have been recorded around the world.

On March 8, northern Italy is locked down, quickly followed by the rest of the country.

– ‘Pandemic’ -On March 11, the WHO says COVID-19 is a pandemic.

Global stock markets crash.

US borders close to around 30 countries.

Governments and central banks roll out massive economic support measures.

– Europe epicentre -On March 13, the WHO says Europe is the pandemic’s new epicentre.

Spain on March 14 and France on March 17 confine their populations.

Other European countries advise people to stay home and limit contact.

– Planes grounded, borders closed -Airlines slash flights. Many countries shut their borders.

By March 18, more than 200,000 cases have been registered.

A long list of countries and territories announce confinement measures.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns against a worse recession than the one that followed the 2008 world financial crisis.

– ‘Threatening the whole of humanity’ -Japan’s 2020 Olympics are postponed on March 24.

A day later, the UN warns the pandemic “is threatening the whole of humanity”.

The US Senate approves a $2-trillion economic stimulus package.

– Half the world confined -On April 2, the symbolic bar of one million officially declared cases is passed, while one half of humanity is confined — more than 3.9 billion people.

– Europe tide turns -The official 100,000-death threshold is passed on April 10. 

On April 17, as the virus rages in the US, now the worst hit country, President Donald Trump says it is time to get the American economy going again.

The 200,000-death mark is reached on April 26. 

The tide starts to turn in Europe’s most hard-hit countries which begin easing their lockdowns.

– Economy on its knees  -On April 29 a battered US aircraft manufacturer Boeing slashes 16,000 jobs. 

Many other groups including airlines and car manufacturers follow.

US figures on May 8 show the pandemic has destroyed 20 million jobs in the country.

On May 12, France and Spain end their lockdowns, followed by Italy and Greece.

– 10 million cases -By June 7 the death toll reaches more than 400,000. 

The surge of cases and deaths in Latin America causes concern. 

Brazil by June 22 counts more than 50,000 fatalities. 

A resurgence in Beijing forces authorities there to lockdown several neighbourhoods.

In late June the number of recorded cases tops 10 million and deaths surpass half a million.


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