Wuhan Memo

There has been so much information presented to us since the outbreak that we can comment fervently on a random piece of trendy events without serious reflection. But we would suffer a great deal from biases and misinformation if we ignore the chain reactions behind each event. To facilitate serious and balanced reflection, our team catalogued and classified the news and information into a comprehensive timeline. Such report contains the daily record for epidemic development and global countermeasure strategies. We sincerely hope it provides a panoramic index and guide for analyzing the development of the epidemic. I would like to thank my team (Wang Deyu, Wang Kaiming, Li Yun, Zili Yang, Amy Ma, Anna Chen, Dong Guo, Wu Pinghui, Han Lianchao, Valerie Lau, Tessa Eftimiades, Daniel Gong) for their extraordinary work. We will continue to monitor and update on new developments.

–  Yang Jianli, February 11, 2020.

PUO: Pneumonia of Unknown Origin
WMHC: Wuhan Municipal Health Commission
People’s Daily: Chinese Communist Party’s Mouthpiece News Paper
Two Sessions: Annual People’s Congress Session and Political Consultative Conference, the two highest political conferences.

English Timeline

18-SEP-2019

Wuhan Customs in Tianhe Airport held an emergency response exercise to detect cases specifically for novel coronavirus infection. [779]

23-OCT-2019

Chinese National Health Commission of China established a national expert group for medical treatment of influenza. [780]

01-DEC-2019

First case reported, according to a report published on “The Lancet” by Chinese scientists. [1]

08-DEC-2019

Earliest symptoms of Pneumonia of Unknown Origin (PUO) patients started by Dec 8, 2019, according to info released by Wuhan Municipal Health Commission (WMHC) on Jan 11, 2020. [2]

10-DEC-2019

Three more cases reported according to report published on “The Lancet”. Two of the three has connections to South China Seafood Market. [1]

12-DEC-2019

Earliest symptoms of PUO patients started by Dec 12, 2019, according to info released by Wuhan Municipal Health Commission (WMHC) on Jan 5, 2020. [3]

20-DEC-2019

Chinese med company “Winner Medical” canceled year-end executive meeting in Hubei Province and increased production of masks. [5]

25-DEC-2019

A nurse director from Wuhan heard other medical workers contracted Pneumonia of Unknown Origin (PUO). [8]

26-DEC-2019

  • Hospital in Wuhan admitted 4 more patients with PUO. [4]
  • Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center routinely collected specimens of patients with PUO from Wuhan. [9]
  • Wechat user claim Beijing Genomics Institute received samples of PUO from Wuhan. [unverified]

27-DEC-2019

  • Guangzhou Weiyuan Gene Tech Co. who did testing on samples notified Wuhan hospitals and Institute of Etiology at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences that this is a new coronavirus. [781]
  • Medical workers of Wuhan Tongji Hospital investigated pathogen similar to SARS coronavirus, and reported to Wuhan’s CDC. The medical workers revealed that Wuhan’s CDC reluctantly came to check only for influenza A and B. [Unverified information circulated in medical worker’s wechat group]

29-DEC-2019

Wuhan Municipal Health Commission began to conduct an epidemiological investigation of PUO. [4]

30-DEC-2019

  • Leaked document from Wuhan Municipal Health Commission revealed that the authority forbidden medical workers releasing any information regarding PUO to public. [6]
  • Dr. Li Wenliang sent out SARS-like warnings to a WeChat chatting group. [7]

31-DEC-2019

  • Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issued statement for the first time on PUO, stated no person-to-person transmission was found, and no medical staff was infected. [10]
  • The National Health Commission sent a team of experts to Wuhan. [11]
  • The WHO Representative Office in China was informed of PUO. [12]

01-JAN-2020

  • South China Seafood Market was shut down. [14]
  • WHO requested further information from Chinese authorities to do a risk assessment. [12]
  • A gene testing company received order from Wuhan Municipal Health Commission to stop testing on all PUO samples, destroy all samples, and do not publish any sample data or journals. [781]
  • Wuhan police interrogated 8 people for spreading “false information” about Wuhan’s pneumonia. [13]

02-JAN-2020

  • China Central Television publicly announced the punishment of 8 people spreading “rumors” on Wuhan’s pneumonia. [15]
  • WHO activated its Incident Management System. [16]
  • China’s state mouthpiece, People’s Daily, have not disclosed any warning of the epidemic to the public. [365]
  • France began to give updated suggestions and reminders to its citizens in Wuhan. [17]
  • Director of Wuhan Institute of Virology emailed to all employees instructing them not to reveal anything about the coronavirus to the public, including state controlled media. [782]
  • PLA Navy Engineer University issued “Notice of Strictly Controlling Outsiders’ Entry into Campus”. [783]

03-JAN-2020

  • Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported that 44 cases of PUO were found, with no evidence of “person-to-person transmission”.[18]
  • China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed China had briefed the United States on the epidemic 30 times between Jan3 to Feb 3. [368]
  • Chinese Communist Party’s Mouthpiece “People’s Daily” has not disclose any warning on the pandemic to the general public to this date. [367]
  • Eight doctors, including Li Wenliang, signed letters of admonition for revealing pandemic info in WeChat messenger groups. [19]

04-JAN-2020

No statements or reports on the PUO update from Chinese governmental agencies or state media.

05-JAN-2020

  • Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported that the number of PUO cases increased to 59, no deaths and no obvious “person-to person” evidence was found. [22]
  • The Shanghai Public Health Center immediately reported to the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission and the National Health Commission that the new virus is homologous to SARS and should be transmitted through the respiratory tract. It recommended that appropriate disease control and prevention measures be taken in public. [23]

06-JAN-2020

  • Wuhan Government begins its annual People’s Congress Session and Political Consultative Conference, the two highest political conferences, and forbidden any negative news in public during this time period. [24] No official media in China published any report or warning to the public of on-going PUO. [370]
  • A respiratory surgeon at Xinhua Hospital in Hubei Province developed a lung abnormality. The hospital had an internal meeting that emphasized the situation could not be leaked out, especially not to the media. [25]
  • The U.S. CDC issued a Level 3 warning and advises against traveling to Wuhan, China. [26]

07-JAN-2020

  • Wuhan Government continued its two highest political conferences, and forbidden any negative news in public during this time period. No updates from Wuhan Health Commission. [24]
  • WHO named new coronavirus causing Wuhan pneumonia epidemic as 2019-nCoV) [27]

08-JAN-2020

  • Wuhan Government continued its two highest political conferences, and forbidden any negative news in public during this time period. No updates from Wuhan Health Commission. [24]
  • China’s National Health Commission confirmed that “new coronavirus” is the cause of the PUO. [11]

09-JAN-2020

  • Wuhan Government continued its two highest political conferences, and forbidden any negative news in public during this time period. No updates from Wuhan Health Commission. [24]
  • First death occurred in Wuhan, according to government information released on Jan 11. [28]
  • WHO did not recommend any specific measures for travellers and advises against any travel or trade restrictions on China. [29]

10-JAN-2020

  • Wuhan Government concluded its two highest political conferences. Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported the epidemic situation for the first time. They emphasized that no new cases were found in Wuhan after January 3. No evidence of “person-to-person” transmission, and no medical staff was infected. [30]
  • The National Health Commission expert Wang Guangfa said that overall the pandemic was “preventable and controllable.” [32]
  • Chinese New Year’s workforce migration (Chunyun) begins.

11-JAN-2020

  • Hubei Province Government began its annual People’s Congress Session and Political Consultative Conference, the two highest political conferences, and forbidden any negative news in public during this time period. [33]
  • Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported no new infections and no new death cases. [34]

12-JAN-2020

  • Hubei Province Government continues its two highest political conferences, and forbidden any negative news in public during this time period. [33]
  • Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported no new infections and no new death cases. [35]
  • Whistle-blower doctor Li Wenliang was admitted to hospital. [37]
  • At this point, the most critical 15 days have passed since the first case of sequencing confirmed the novel coronavirus.

13-JAN-2020

  • Hubei Province Government continued its two highest political conferences, and forbidden any negative news in public during this time period. [33]
  • Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported no new infections and no new death cases.
  • First case confirmed outside China. [38]
  • China’s trade negotiation delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He arrived in the U.S. [39]

14-JAN-2020

  • Hubei Province Government continued its two highest political conferences, and forbidden any negative news in public during this time period. [33]
  • Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported no new infections and no new death cases. Also stated there’s no clear evidence of person-to-person transmission. [40][41]

15-JAN-2020

  • Hubei Province Government continues its two highest political conferences, and forbidden any negative news in public during this time period. [33]
  • One new death case according to government information released on Jan 16. [42]
  • President Trump and Liu He signed phase one trade deal in the White House.

16-JAN-2020

  • Hubei Province Government continued its two highest political conferences, and forbidden any negative news in public during this time period. [33]
  • Four more cases confirmed according to government information released on Jan 18. [44]
  • Japan confirmed first case. [377]

17-JAN-2020

  • Hubei Province Government concluded its annual People’s Congress Session and Political Consultative Conference, the two highest political conferences. State media mentioned no info of coronavirus in their reporting in Hubei and Wuhan. [48]
  • Until the end of the two political conferences in Hubei, 41 confirmed cases announced by Wuhan Health Commission remains unchanged in more than a week. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission epidemic report published on Jan 19th said 17 new pneumonia cases with coronavirus infection were added on Jan 17th, and there were no new deaths. [45]

 

 

18-JAN-2020

  • The Baibuting Community in Wuhan City hosted a “Ten Thousand Family” Banquet, attended by about 40,000 families. [51]
  • First wave of Chinese New Year celebration began. The Chinese New Year workforce migration enters its 9th day.
  • CCP mouthpiece, “People’s Daily” published seven articles on its front page praising Xi Jinping, and did not mention anything regarding the on-going new coronavirus outbreak. [378]

19-JAN-2020

  • Wuhan City disease control officials and city leaders told the media that Wuhan’s new coronavirus is not contagious, which can be prevented and controlled. [53]
  • Hospitals medical staff in Guangzhou reported to be infected, hospitals dismissed the “rumor”. [54]

20-JAN-2020

  • Xi Jinping publicly addressed the outbreak for the first time. [59]
  • The National Health Commission reported the pandemic situation for the first time. [55]
  • Zhong Nanshan, expert group leader of the National Health and Medical Commission, confirmed “person-to-person” transmission for the first time. [58]
  • Wuhan Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism handed out travel discount coupons to promote New Years Tourism. [56]
  • South Korea confirmed first case. [57]

21-JAN-2020

  • China’s Communist Party’s mouthpiece “People’s Daily” published Xi Jinping’s “important instructions” on the pandemic which was oddly not placed on the most prominent space in the paper. This is two weeks after Xi Jinping held the CCP Standing Committee meeting on the pandemic. Between Jan 8 to Jan 20, there were no reports of coronavirus or pneumonia on People’s Daily.
  • National Health Commission reported the source of the virus had not been found, and the transmission channels of the pandemic had not been fully grasped. [62]
  • Wuhan Provincial Government hosted Chinese New Year celebration gala. [63]
  • People across China are being detained for publishing information on the outbreak. [65][66][67]
  • First case of 2019-nCoV confirmed in United States. Marked first one outside of Asia. [61]
  • WHO team arrived in Wuhan. [64]

22-JAN-2020

  • Hubei Province initiated a Level II emergency response to public health emergencies. [72]
  • Director of the Chinese CDC said at the State Council’s press conference that the source of the new coronavirus is wild animals. [73]
  • The WHO reported that 16 medical workers in China were infected. [71]
  • North Korea became the first country to adopt strict immigration control measures against China. [138]
  • People across China continues to be detained by police for talking about the outbreak online. [74][75][76]

23-JAN-2020

  • Wuhan established new coronavirus command headquarter. Order No. 1 was to lock-down Wuhan City. All public transportation would be suspended, the airport and train station would be closed, and citizens would not be allowed to leave the city. [78]
  • A total of six cities put on lock-down. [82]
  • Wuhan’s new coronavirus command headequarter issued Order No. 2, praising Xi Jinping’s caring and CCP’s work on fighting the virus. [79]
  • WHO convened an emergency meeting and stated that the outbreak did not constitute a public health emergency of international concern. [82]

24-JAN-2020

  • On Chinese New Year’s Eve, hospitals in Wuhan declared they were running out of supplies and short of staff. A large number of front-line medical staff asked for help on social media. [86]
  • Ten more cities/towns were put on lock-down. [88]
  • Citizen journalist Chen Qiushi arrived in Wuhan to report on the situation. [393]

25-JAN-2020

  • United States closed down consulate in Wuhan and evacuate their consulate staff. [99]
  • Xi Jinping presided over a meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee to study the pandemic prevention and control work. The Party Central Committee established a leading group for the pandemic situation, but did not announce the person in charge. [105]
  • Suizhou City of Hubei is put on lock-down. [82]
  • First medical worker died according to government data. [106]
  • Wuhan began building Huoshenshan Hospital. [272]
  • More people are being detained across China for talking about the outbreak online. [107][108][109][110][111][112]

26-JAN-2020

  • A day after the establishment of the new coronavirus pneumonia epidemic work leading group, Li Keqiang was appointed as group leader. [120]
  • Chen Wei, major general and director of the PLA Military Medical Research Institute of the Academy of Military Sciences, led a team to Wuhan.
  • Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, “People’s Daily” reported on leadership of Xi Jinping on the coronavirus, first time in four days to publish anything regarding the coronavirus. This marked the first time “People’s Daily” put coronavirus related news on headline.
  • Chinese Red Cross cuts off all private funding channels and unified the allocation of resources. This has severely shorten hospitals’ supplies because private channel donations were the main source for the past few days. [115]
  • More people are being detained across China for talking about the outbreak online. [123][124][125][126][127][128][129][130][131][132][133][134][135]

27-JAN-2020

  • Xi Jinping instructed to let the CCP’s flag fly high on the front line of the epidemic prevention and control struggle. On the same day, Li Keqiang went to Wuhan to inspect the situation. [144]
  • The WHO Director-General met with government officials and health experts in Beijing. [143]
  • People across China were been detained for posting information online on the pandemic. [147][148][149][150][151][152][153][154][155][156][157][158][159]
  • A video clip revealing a conversation between patients and nurses in which the nurse told the patients that outpatients are not allowed to do nucleic acid tests and therefore cannot be counted towards the number of diagnosed.

28-JAN-2020

  • Xi Jinping met with WHO Director-General Tedros A. Ghebreyesus, and during the meeting Xi claimed that he himself responded to the epidemic, and “personally” directed and deployed the anti-pandemic campaign. Li Keqiang, who actually went to Wuhan as national leader battling the virus, were no longer mentioned in the media. [166]
  • China’s state controlled media, Dongying News, praised a female cyber police for deleting social media posts 20 hours a day during this outbreak. This news was deleted after netizens take this as evidence of China’s internet censorship. [394]
  • More people across China were detained for publishing information online on the pandemic. [168][169][171][172][173][174][175][176][177][178][179]
  • The U.S. CDC has raised warnings for U.S. citizens traveling to China to level 3. [161]

29-JAN-2020

  • Li Keqiang convened a meeting of the Central Leading Group on Pneumonia of New Coronavirus Infection. [189]
  • Wuhan’s hospitals were urgently in needs a lot of medical supplies. [187]
  • People across China were being detained for publishing outbreak information. [192][193][194][195][196]

30-JAN-2020

  • WHO finally declared the outbreak of the new coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. [203][204]
  • Li Keqiang went to the China CDC, requested that effective drugs be developed as soon as possible. [205]
  • The Chinese Red Cross seized supplies from front-line hospitals. Doctors in Wuhan posted on Weibo that a hospital ’s medical supplies were “all gone already”. [187][207][225][210]

31-JAN-2020

  • Chongqiang, Kunming, Wuzhong, Yinchuan were put under lock-down. [296]
  • Wuhan’s front-line medical workers improvised masks and protective clothing out of sheet linens, trash bags and body bags mean while the Chinese Red Cross withheld medical supplies from them. Many believed this was punishment for smearing the government’s public image bypassing the government and directly asking the public for help a few days ago. [228][230]
  • China’s Foreign Ministry criticized United States for “not being honest” for raising the alarm to its highest towards traveling to China. [226]
  • American NGO, Direct Relief, worked with Chinese scholars in United States and China, shipped and delivered 2.5 tons of medical supplies directly to front-line hospital, amid fear of Chinese Red Cross seizing the supplies. [234]
  • WHO does not recommend restriction on travel and trade on China.