COVID-19 Timeline from inside China

Based on my detailed daily Facebook updates and notes from within China during the entire COVID-19 outbreak, until the end of March, I have assembled an easier to read chronological timeline of major events that I had previously reported.  This timeline, in conjunction with my daily statistics, may provide researchers, historians (and nutty conspiracy naysayers) a better outline of reality (or not, depending on what some wish to believe).

NOTE: The first column after the date with tick marks indicate those events I personally experienced, the 2nd column, those I saw reported in major media, typically, in multiple sources.  The flags on the right offer my friends in those countries a quick reference to scan for events specific to their own countries.  The 🇺🇳 UN flag is used for global events.

The timeline in chronological order:

DATE EXPERIENCED REPORTED EVENT
Dec 19 The Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in central China’s Hubei Province detected cases of pneumonia of unknown cause.
Around Dec 21 Through diplomatic backchannels, China gives unofficial heads up to the diplomatic community about a mysterious pneumonia virus in Wuhan. 🇺🇳
Dec 24 Close friends, a Consul General and his wife of a major country gave us a heads-up at a Christmas eve party of this troubling mysterious pneumonia virus.
Based on experience from SARS (and common sense) I go into self-imposed isolation as a result of the seriousness of the warning.
Dec 30 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.
Wuhan CDC issued emergency warnings to local hospitals about a number of mysterious pneumonia cases discovered in the city in the previous week
The National Health Commission (NHC) make arrangements to send a working group to Wuhan to conduct on-site investigations.
Dec 31 The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission released a briefing on its website about the pneumonia in the city, telling the public not to go to enclosed public places or gather. It suggested wearing face masks when going out.
Chinese state television CCTV channel 13 in their daily news broadcasts reported about the unknown virus, adding that a team of experts from the National Health Commission would arrive in Wuhan.
The World Health Organization (WHO) detects reports of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause on the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission website.
Jan 1 Xinhua News Agency (Xinhua) reported the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan was closed
Jan 2 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 4 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.
Jan 3 China begins officially and regularly informing the WHO, major countries and other regions about the pneumonia outbreak. 🇺🇳
China began to officially inform the USA and other major countries of the pneumonia outbreak and response measures on a regular basis. 🇺🇸
Jan 4 Head of the China CDC talked over phone with director of the U.S. CDC about the pneumonia outbreak. 🇺🇸
Jan 5 The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission updated briefing on the situation of viral pneumonia of unknown cause, reporting 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.
The WHO held its first briefing on pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan.
Jan 6 The New York Times publishes its first report about the outbreak. 🇺🇸
The CDC in Atlanta issued a level 1 travel watch. 🇺🇸
Jan 7 The China CDC succeeded in isolating the first novel coronavirus strain.
Jan 8 An expert evaluation team from the NHC initially identified a new coronavirus as the cause of the epidemic.
Heads of China and U.S. CDC talk over phone to discuss technological exchanges and cooperation. 🇺🇸
Jan 9 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.
Jan 10 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.
The China CDC shared with the WHO the specific primers and probes for detecting the novel coronavirus.
Jan 12 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, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences 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.
Jan 13 The NHC instructs Wuhan authorities to strengthen body temperature monitoring of people at ports and stations, as well as reduce crowd gathering.
I start tracking daily statistics indicating 6 people are confirmed infected by 2019-nCoV and many more presumed suspected, but not yet confirmed, in Wuhan.
Delegations from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan visited Wuhan
The WHO issued 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. 🇹🇭
Jan 14 The NHC held a national teleconference, ordering the whole country to prepare for epidemic prevention and response.
Jan 15 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.
The first death, a 69-year-old man in China is reported
Jan16 Foreign journalists asked about the epidemic for the first time at a press conference held by the Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing.
Japan reports its first infection case. 🇯🇵
Jan 19 The NHC distributed nucleic acid testing reagents to health departments across the country.
The first confirmed cases were reported in China, outside Wuhan, 1 in the province of Guangdong and 2 in Beijing.
The China CDC communicated with the U.S. CDC on epidemic prevention and control recommendations 🇺🇸
Jan 20 Xinhua reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping, instructing that 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.
The Republic of Korea reports its first case. 🇰🇷
2 people reported to be officially confirmed to infected outside of China
The NHC held a press conference announcing that human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus was suspected and called on people not to go to Wuhan except for extremely important reasons.
Researchers from City University of Hong Kong published a genetic analysis suggesting what animals that serve as the transmission vehicle of the 2019-nCoV remains to be identified.
Jan 21 The WHO published a statement saying on Jan. 20-21, a WHO delegation conducted a field visit to Wuhan to learn about the response to 2019-nCoV.
The China CDC reported for the first time the epidemiological characteristics of 2019-nCoV, displaying the whole genome sequence of 3 strains of the virus, in an article titled “Note from the Field: A Novel Coronavirus Genome Identified in a Cluster of Pneumonia Cases – Wuhan, China 2019-2020.”
Jan 22 During a call with French President Emmanuel Macron,  Xi Jinping said that since the outbreak, China has taken strict measures in prevention, control and treatment, and has been releasing relevant information to the public and keeping the World Health Organization as well as relevant countries and regions informed in a timely manner and is willing to work with the international community to effectively tackle the spread of the disease and maintain global health security 🇫🇷
Xi Jinping talked with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel said Germany appreciates China’s efforts to respond in a timely manner, stay open and transparent, and actively carry out international cooperation, adding that Germany is willing to provide China with support and assistance. 🇩🇪
The State Council Information Office held a press conference about epidemic and prevention control, advising people outside Wuhan not to go to the city and Wuhan residents not to leave the city without special reasons.
Domestic cross-provincial lines travel by car or bus is banned. Certain major metro lines shut down. International group travel by plane stopped today.
China’s NHC received a notification from the USA saying the first confirmed 2019-nCoV case had been reported in the USA. 🇺🇸
President Trump during an interview at Economic Forum in Switzerland famously states “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s—going to be just fine.” 🇺🇸
US Embassy in China raised the Health Alert to level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions) 🇺🇸
Jan 23 Wuhan epidemic prevention and control headquarters issued an emergency notice to shut down the city’s outbound channels at airports and railway stations starting 10am. on Jan. 23. The Ministry of Transport demanded other parts of the country suspend the passenger traffic into Wuhan by vehicle, train, plane and other means of transport, as well as key places including stations, airports and docks.  By the end of the day, the entire Hubei province had gone under a city-by-city quarantine.
Singapore reports its first case. 🇸🇬
Except companies which provide gas, electricity, medicine, food and equipment needed to help contain the 2019-nCoV epidemic, all other shops and companies close.
China start building the first of 16 emergency field hospitals in Wuhan, to be completed within 10 days.  Huoshenshan Hospital will have 1,000 beds, and be dedicated to 2019-nCoV epidemic.
Researchers from WIV, Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital and the Hubei Provincial CDC found that the full-length genome sequences of the 2019-nCoV shares 79.5 percent of SARS-CoV sequence.
Jan 24 WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked the Chinese government for its cooperation and transparency, saying that the Chinese government has been successful in isolating and sequencing the virus very quickly and has shared that genetic sequence with the WHO and the international community.
A smart use of drones now becoming more common both in Shanghai and nationwide, remotely checking body temperatures, using facial recognition to identify the person, and talking-to the person wandering the street to wear a mask, wash hands and go back indoors.
The first confirmed incidence of human-to-human transmission outside of China was documented by the WHO in Vietnam 🇻🇳
The National Microbiology Data Center and the National Pathogen Resources Collection Center jointly established the Novel Coronavirus National Science and Technology Resource Service System, releasing the first electron microscope picture of the virus and strain information.
Chinese Spring Festival (official) holiday commences (Until Jan 30)
Jan 25 Xinhua reported that Xi Jinping, asked for new arrangements on issues especially related to the treatment of patients, and decided to send guidance groups to Hubei Province and other seriously affected areas to enhance the frontline prevention and control work.
Xi Jinping called the “accelerating spread” of 2019-nCoV a “grave situation” in a politburo meeting, and that it was “mutating” as Beijing escalates measures to contain the illness
Australia confirmed its first four cases, 1 in Victoria and 3 in New South Wales 🇦🇺
The NHC unveiled six guidelines on public prevention for general use, tourism, households, public places, public transport and self-observation at home.
The biggest issue for locals is no supply of N95 masks and low supply of non-perishable food.  Online shopping has no fresh vegetables, frozen or chilled foods.
Chinese New Year
Jan 26 Xinhua reported that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, held a meeting to further strengthen epidemic prevention and control arrangements.
The Chinese Spring Festival holiday was extended to contain the 2019-nCoV outbreak
China started requiring nationwide use of monitoring stations for screening, identification and immediate isolation of coronavirus-infected travelers, including at airports, railway stations, bus stations and ports
Face masks are now mandatory whenever outside your home, nationally.
All schools, universities and training centres close.  Company recruitment efforts have been banned (to stop strangers entering buildings).  Banquets, wedding dinners, birthday parties have been banned in major cities
For the 1st time in history both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Public Security Bureau, are accepting non-chopped documents submitted online, and approved by the legal representative of the company (in our case, me), for the extension of work permits and visas.
Toilet Paper is sold out — not surprising, since many Asian countries use TP for tissues and napkins which largely do not exist here, so TP is common on dining tables.
The NHC briefed that recent clinical results showed that the novel coronavirus has more transmissibility and the epidemic situation is grim and complicated, adding that the country is at a crucial time in the prevention and control of the outbreak.  Further, the source of infection is yet to be found and studies are needed to understand its pathogenicity, adding that the possibility of virus changes over time can’t be ruled out.
Jan 27 The State Council daily press conference begins, releasing updated data on a daily basis, including new confirmed cases, people discharged from hospital, people who had had close contact with infected patients and were discharged from medical observation, severe cases, deaths, suspected cases, people receiving treatment in quarantine, close contacts still under medical observation, accumulative data on the Chinese mainland as well as data reported in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
Face masks become a controlled item by China customs.
Canada reported its first confirmed case and another presumptive case 🇨🇦
Beijing reports its first death from coronavirus
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation initially commits $10 million for the 2019-nCoV outbreak response in China, and screening and outbreak preparedness in Africa.
Head of China’s NHC talked over phone with U.S. secretary of health and human services Alex Azar, discussing the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak. 🇺🇸
Jan 28 Xi Jinping met with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Beijing. “The epidemic is a devil. We will not let it hide,” Xi said, stressing the Chinese government has released information about the epidemic in a timely, open, transparent and responsible manner, actively responded to concerns of all sides, and enhanced cooperation with the international community.
China’s Supreme People’s Court through a message in its official WeChat account vindicated Dr. Li Wenliang and the other 7 doctors and said they should not have been punished as what they said was not entirely false.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing for foreign embassies and missions in China on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Foreign diplomats and representatives present made positive comments on the briefing held and appreciated the Chinese government’s firm and decisive measures in handling the epidemic, as well as the open, transparent and responsible attitude it has shown. 🇺🇳
Jan 29 Yang Jiechi, head of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission, spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo expressed appreciation for China’s timely response to U.S. concerns after the epidemic. 🇺🇸
Starting with Air Canada halting all direct flights to China following the federal government’s advisory, a further 1,941 flights from 73 airlines are cancelled into and out of China. 🇨🇦
Shanghai announces a face mask registration program to guarantee households can obtain 5 masks every 10 days.
Trump administration trade advisor Peter Navarro issued a memo warning that coronavirus could “evolve into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans” and that the “risk of a worst-case pandemic scenario should not be overlooked“. 🇺🇸
The China CDC published an epidemiological feature analysis of the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak in the New England Journal of Medicine. 🇺🇸
Australian scientists announce they have successfully grown 2019-nCoV in the laboratory, which can be helpful in improving diagnosis of the virus 🇦🇺
Jan 30 China’s NHC notified the U.S. that U.S. experts are welcome to join the China-WHO joint mission. The U.S. side responded the same day and expressed their appreciation. 🇺🇸
The WHO declares a public health emergency of international concern and advised “all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoV infection”
Some city high rise apartment buildings turn off elevators or board up front doors to enforce quarantine measures.
Chinese Spring Festival (official) holiday ends (Since Jan 24)
Jan 31 The NHC released guidelines on gathering patients infected with novel coronavirus that show severe symptoms into designated medical institutions for treatment, in order to minimize the fatality rate and increase the recovery rate.
The United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain and Russia confirmed their first coronavirus infections. 🇬🇧
President Trump bans foreign nationals from entering the USA if they had been in China within the prior 2 weeks. 🇺🇸
Robots are now being used extensively in public places, such as using to disinfect places, and using in hotels to deliver food to rooms, drones monitoring people venturing outside, taking their temperature, and telling them to go back indoors.
Feb 1 The Philippines reports its first 2019-nCoV-related death 🇵🇭
Feb 2 Head of China’s NHC Ma Xiaowei sent a letter to the U.S. secretary of health and human services Alex Azar, further exchanging views on bilateral cooperation in health as well as epidemic prevention and control. 🇺🇸
The Huoshenshan emergency specialty field hospital in Wuhan begins operational service, after construction commenced on Jan 23.
Feb 3 The State Council held a press conference on ensuring supplies of crucial anti-epidemic medical materials and daily necessities. At the press conference, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said about 60% of production capacity of domestic mask manufacturers have been resumed. Though N95 masks were in shortage, the supply would keep on increasing through expanded domestic production and increased international procurement. Further, provision of psychological assistance through online or hotline counseling services will become a priority.
The NHC introduced the epidemic situation and presented suggestions for further cooperation at a video conference held among senior health officials from China, ASEAN, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). 🇰🇷
🇯🇵
China shares its 2019-nCoV database with the world in real time.
Feb 4 Head of the China CDC spoke over phone with Dr. Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to exchange information on the epidemic. 🇺🇸
The Diamond Princess ship was quarantined in the Port of Yokohama, Japan with confirming 10 new cases 🇯🇵
ABC News PM interviews me to discuss life in lockdown. 🇦🇺
Feb 5 Xi Jinping reminds the safety and health of the people should always be prioritized and called for greater legislative, law enforcement, judicial and law observance efforts to strengthen the capacity to carry out law-based epidemic prevention and control.
Under the joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council, a press conference was held in Beijing on the latest development of work involving production, dispatch and imports of medical supplies, and briefing on the fifth-edition guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of the novel coronavirus patients.
China deploys a nationwide GEO location real time mapping service to help people be aware of the spread and neighborhood issues by using phone location services to pinpoint places of infection.
The government from the Province of Heilongjiang put out an announcement warning that the highest sentence for endangering public safety by intentionally transmitting the 2019-nCoV “is the death penalty.” The central government followed suit, announcing that a raft of medical crimes would carry severe punishment, including potential execution.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announces a 10 fold increase to $100 million in funding in support of 2019-nCoV response and preparedness efforts.
Feb 7 Xi Jinping spoke over phone with U.S. President Donald Trump, updating on prevention and control measures. 🇺🇸
Local doctor in Wuhan, Li Wenliang, who tried to raise the alarm on the 2019-nCoV in December, dies.
Feb 8 The NHC gave briefings on China’s anti-epidemic efforts and measures at the first meeting of the APEC health working group.
China Daily reports that Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau first confirms today that the 2019-nCoV is airborne generating aerosol transmission with droplets in the air.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticizes the levels of misinformation spreading around the virus, saying “we’re not just battling the virus; we’re also battling the trolls and conspiracy theorists that push misinformation and undermine the outbreak response.” 🇺🇳
Feb 9 Chinese Premier Li Keqiang talked over phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, exchanging views over the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak.  “The measures we have taken have gone far beyond the requirements of the International Health Regulations and the recommendations of the WHO,” Li said he hopes that the international community can stay rational, support China’s efforts in containing the epidemic, maintain normal bilateral exchanges, and strengthen international cooperation on public health security, adding he hopes that the China can purchase medical supplies from Germany through commercial channels. 🇩🇪
Death toll in China surpasses that of the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, with 811 deaths recorded.
Shanghai Government issues a 7-part citizen advisory plan regarding no social activities, no visitation by friends or family, disinfection routines, personal hygiene, avoiding aerosol and contact transmission, isolation and general health measures.
Feb 10 Xi Jinping made an inspection tour in Beijing on the epidemic prevention and control and said the situation at the moment remains very serious, calling on Party committees and governments at all levels to firmly follow strict enforcement of the general requirements of firm confidence, sticking together in tough times, scientific prevention and control and carrying out targeted policies. Calling for persistent efforts, Xi said with firmer confidence, more indomitable will and more decisive measures, and by firmly relying on the people, China will resolutely contain the spread of the epidemic, and win the people’s all-out war against the epidemic.
An advance team of the WHO-led team arrived in Beijing.
The death count — at 909 — surpasses that associated with Middle East respiratory syndrome, which has claimed the lives of 858 people.
Feb 11 An acronym that stands for coronavirus disease 2019, “COVID-19” is adopted as the new name of the disease.
  Commencing in Hangzhou, China begins national roll-out of a smartphone based “Health Code System” essentially a personal QR code that is either green, yellow or red, that adjusts in real-time based on where your smartphone may come in contact with infection issues.  The voluntary adopted system quickly saw immediate support from Chinese residents due to it’s safety and privacy measures, and months later (at time of publishing this timeline in May) is required to access public transport, enter a commercial building or restaurant etc…
WHO says a vaccine could be available in an estimated 18 months.  A successful vaccine will require huge investment, according to WHO. “Making a decision to advance a vaccine to phase one, phase two, phase three trials, requires hundreds of millions of dollars to be invested. We may have to invest in multiple candidates, without any certainty that one of them will work,”
Feb 13 The U.S. department of health and human services sent a letter to China’s NHC to communicate the arrangements of bilateral cooperation in health and epidemic prevention and control. 🇺🇸
Japan confirmed its first death from the virus 🇯🇵
Feb 14 Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies program, refuted remarks by Lawrence Kudlow, the director of the White House National Economic Council, that described the Chinese government’s response to the epidemic outbreak as ‘lacking transparency’. Ryan said the remarks did not accord with the facts, as the Chinese government actively cooperated with the WHO and displayed a high level of transparency. 🇺🇸
Feb 15 The State Council Information Office held a press conference in Beijing on epidemic prevention and control related to the return trips of the Spring Festival travel rush.  Further, the proportion of severe and critical cases among all confirmed COVID-19 cases had dropped significantly in China (including Wuhan and Hubei Province).
Feb 16 The China-WHO joint expert team started a 9-day field visit in China, inspecting Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Wuhan.  The team consists of 25 experts from China, Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea (ROK), Nigeria, Russia, Singapore, the USA and WHO. 🇺🇳
Feb 18 Xi Jinping talked over phone with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, noting that by upholding the idea of building a community with a shared future for mankind, China is not only responsible for the safety and health of its people, but also committed to the cause of safeguarding international public health. 🇬🇧
China’s NHC replied in a letter to U.S. department of health and human services, further communicating on arrangements for bilateral cooperation on health and epidemic control. 🇺🇸
Feb 20 Xi Jinping talked over phone with President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in at request, stressing China’s forceful prevention and control measures are not only aimed at safeguarding the lives and health of the Chinese people, but also contributing to the world’s public health cause. 🇰🇷
When asked at a press conference whether the novel coronavirus is a biological weapon, a spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “What we need in the face of an epidemic is science, rationality and cooperation. We must seek the triumph of science over ignorance, dispel rumors with truth, and replace prejudice with cooperation. We hope the international community, while fighting COVID-19 together, will continue to combat conspiracy theories and other ‘political viruses’.”
Feb 22 The China-WHO joint expert team arrived in Hubei Province for a two-day field investigation on the COVID-19 outbreak.
The experts visited Tongji Hospital, the Wuhan Sports Center that was converted into a temporary hospital, and the provincial CDC to learn about epidemic prevention and control as well as medical treatment.
Feb 23 Xinhua reported that at a meeting in Beijing, Xi Jinping stressed unremitting efforts on the prevention and control of COVID-19.  “The epidemic situation remains grim and complex and it is now a most crucial moment to curb the spread, efforts should be made to turn pressure into impetus, turn crises into opportunities, restore the work and life order step by step” Xi said.
Feb 24 The China-WHO joint expert team held a press conference in Beijing, during which team members said China’s unprecedented public health responses to the COVID-19 outbreak have yielded notable results in slowing the spread of the epidemic and blocking human-to-human transmission of the virus, preventing or at least delaying hundreds of thousands of cases.
The Lancet medical journal published an article coauthored by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan. The article said Chinese doctors quickly identified the novel coronavirus during the flu season and shared genome sequencing information of the virus with international counterparts through the global scientific research network, which laid the foundation for follow-up scientific research. China’s unremitting efforts in preventing and controlling the COVID-19 not only wins precious time for other countries, but also “paves the way” for the international scientific community to jointly deal with the epidemic. 🇺🇳
The Diamond Princess ship quarantined in the Port of Yokohama, Japan, now has 705 cases aboard the ship and is estimated that more passengers on the ship could be infected. 🇯🇵
Feb 26 Shanghai downgraded its emergency response level from 1 to 2 (out of 4).  Beijing to remain at level 1.
Feb 29 Voluntary medical experts from the Red Cross Society of China arrived in Iran.
The WHO-China Joint Mission published a report about its field study trip on COVID-19 in China “in the face of a previously unknown virus, China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history. As striking, has been the uncompromising rigor of strategy application that proved to be a hallmark in every setting and context where it was examined. Achieving China’s exceptional coverage with and adherence to these containment measures has only been possible due to the deep commitment of the Chinese people to collective action in the face of this common threat. At a community level this is reflected in the remarkable solidarity of provinces and cities in support of the most vulnerable populations and communities.” 🇺🇳
Mar 2 Wuhan closed its first makeshift hospital, one of the 16 built to contain the epidemic after the last person was discharged.
Mar 3 Shanghai and Guangdong province begin mandatory quarantine of travelers arriving from coronavirus-hit countries
Mar 5 The NHC announces two imported cases of novel coronavirus infection were reported on the Chinese mainland on March 4, bringing the accumulated number of imported cases to 20.  China now begins reporting on a daily basis the newly imported COVID-19 cases from overseas.
Mar 6 The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson answered questions of reporters, addressing some media’s claim that the novel coronavirus is “made in China.” According to the spokesperson, the traceability of the virus is still in progress. “Though the first case of COVID-19 was detected in China, it does not necessarily mean that it originated from China. We should jointly oppose ‘information virus’ and ‘political virus.'”
Mar 7 A Chinese medical team dispatched by the Red Cross Society of China arrived in Iraq, carrying China-aided COVID-19 prevention supplies. 🇮🇶
China announced a donation of USD $20 million to the WHO to support its international cooperation in the fight against COVID-19.
Mar 9 A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that while overcoming its own difficulties, China is willing to provide masks and other medical protection materials to relevant countries to support them in fighting the COVID-19 epidemic and jointly deal with and eventually win the battle..
Mar 10 Xinhua reported that Xi Jinping, went to Wuhan to inspect the prevention and control work at the critical moment of fighting COVID-19 and issues a statement claiming that COVID-19 has been eradicated in Wuhan and Hubei province.  Xi stressed that the whole country must not be careless or weary, and should pay close attention to all kinds of prevention and control work to resolutely win the battles against the coronavirus in Hubei and Wuhan.
Beijing orders everyone arriving in the city from any country, including those from countries not affected by COVID-19, to undergo home quarantine for 14 days.
Mar 11 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a CA$1,000,000,000 COVID-19 Response Fund that includes a $50 million contribution to the World Health Organization and an additional $275 million to fund coronavirus research in Canada 🇨🇦
The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic after cases outside China increased 13-fold over the past two weeks.
Mar 12 Xi Jinping talked over phone with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at request, stressing that China is willing to share its prevention and control experience with relevant countries, carry out joint research and development of drugs and vaccines, and is providing assistance to some countries where the epidemic has spread.
Mar 13 Trump (finally) declares a national emergency in the USA 🇺🇸
Mar 14 Xinhua reported that Xi Jinping recently sent a message of sympathy to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, expressing sincere sympathies. Xi stressed that the Chinese government and its people firmly support Italy’s fight against the COVID-19 outbreak at this difficult time, and China is willing to cooperate with Italy and offer assistance. 🇮🇹
Xi Jinping sent a message of sympathy to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, expressing heartfelt sympathies and offered Iran a batch of anti-epidemic supplies and sent a team of voluntary health experts,. 🇮🇷
Xi Jinping recently sent a message of sympathy to President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in, expressing heartfelt sympathies noting that epidemics know no borders, and all countries worldwide are part of a community with a shared future, and the Chinese government and people empathize with the ROK in its struggle against the epidemic and related difficulties and will continue to provide as much assistance as it can to the ROK to support the latter’s fight against the COVID-19 outbreak 🇰🇷
Mar 17 China begins supplying 14 kinds of test kits to 11 countries.
Mar 18 A second group of Chinese medical experts arrived in Italy, carrying nine tonnes of medical supplies donated by China 🇮🇹
Mar 19 The National Supervisory Commission released the report of an investigation into issues related to doctor Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist with the Central Hospital of Wuhan. Following the report, Wuhan Public Security Bureau decided to revoke the previous reprimand letter and apologized to Li’s family over the mistake.
Mar 20 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison closes its borders to all non-residents and non-Australian citizens from 9pm. 🇦🇺
Mar 21 China offers to send a group of medical experts to Serbia along with protective equipment and medical instruments to help it better contain the COVID-19 epidemic, so as to protect the life, health and well-being of the Serbian people.
Xi Jinping sent a message of sympathy to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, stressing China firmly supports Germany’s endeavor in combating the epidemic and is willing to provide assistance within its capacity if there is a need from the German side, saying China stands ready to continue sharing information and experience with Germany, and strengthening cooperation in such areas as epidemic prevention and control, treatment of patients, and vaccine research and development, so as to jointly protect the health and well-being of people not only in both countries but in the rest of the world. 🇩🇪
Mar 22 A Chinese medical team carrying ventilators, medical masks, test kits and other medical materials arrived in Serbia to help it battle the novel coronavirus.
In response to a rise in imported cases, the Civil Aviation Administration of China decided to divert international flights bound for Beijing to 12 designated airports for mandatory quarantine.
Mar 23 Xi Jinping talked over phone with French President Emmanuel Macron, stressed both China and France shoulder the arduous responsibility of safeguarding international and regional public health security, suggesting that both countries carry out cooperation to promote joint research programs, strengthen cooperation in frontier health and quarantine inspection, support the work of the WHO, jointly help African countries enhance epidemic prevention and control, and strive to build a community of common health. 🇫🇷
Xi Jinping talked over phone with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, noting facts have shown once again that mankind is a community that shares good and bad. Xi said China is willing to share with Egypt the epidemic-related information, experience on prevention and treatment, and medical research results, and provide it with medical supplies to support its prevention and control efforts to jointly beat the disease.
Xi Jinping talked over phone with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where Xi stressed that China hopes Britain will enhance coordination with China to minimize the risk of the epidemic’s spread while ensuring necessary flow of people and trade. 🇬🇧
Wuhan eases its two-month lockdown on residents including allowing those from compounds deemed virus-free to leave their homes and return to work, if they did not have a temperature and could provide a green code of health. Non-residents were allowed to apply to leave the city.
A team of Chinese medical experts carrying a batch of medical materials aided by China arrived in Cambodia to help it fight the COVID-19.
Mar 24 The International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announce that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games will be postponed to a date beyond 2020 but no later than summer 2021 🇯🇵
Mar 26 Via video link in Beijing, Xi Jinping delivered a speech titled “Working Together to Defeat the COVID-19 Outbreak” at the G20 Leaders’ Summit.  Stressing the outbreak is spreading worldwide and the situation is disturbing and unsettling, Xi said it’s imperative for the international community to strengthen confidence, act with unity and work together in a collective response to win the battle against such a major infectious disease for humanity.  Guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, China will be more than ready to share its good practices, provide assistance in its capacity to countries hit by the growing outbreak, and contribute to the stability of the world economy, Xi said. 🇺🇳
Xi Jinping wrote in a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, saying China has always supported the global COVID-19 containment efforts with concrete actions, and has offered assistance to the WHO and other international organizations, as well as more than 80 countries. Xi said China will continue to provide support for the international community in combating COVID-19 epidemic.
China’s third medical team carrying ventilators, medical monitors, masks and other medical supplies arrived in Italy via chartered flight to help Italy fight the COVID-19 outbreak. 🇮🇹
According to the International Development Cooperation Agency, China has thus far provided 4 batches of anti-pandemic aid for 89 countries and 4 international organizations, while the 5th batch of aid program was being developed. 🇺🇳
Total confirmed cases in the USA reach 82,404 — the highest in the world — surpassing China’s 81,782 and Italy’s 80,589. 🇺🇸
Mar 27 Xi Jinping talked over phone with U.S. President Donald Trump at request, stressing that China has been timely sharing information on COVID-19 in an open, transparent and responsible manner with the WHO and countries including the United States since the onset of the epidemic.  China, Xi said, wasted no time in releasing such information as the genetic sequence of the coronavirus, and has also been sharing experience on COVID-19 prevention, containment and treatment without reserve, and providing as much support and assistance as it can for countries in need. 🇺🇸
In response to a rise in imported cases, the Chinese Government announces that it will close China’s borders to foreigners starting at midnight in an effort to stop imported cases of the coronavirus from entering China. The ban also includes foreigners with visas and residency permits. Other measures include restricting both Chinese and foreign airlines to a single route and destination a week.
Mar 28 A Chinese medical expert team carrying medical supplies arrived in Pakistan to help it fight COVID-19.
Mar 29 A team of Chinese medical experts carrying medical supplies, such as treatment machines, protective materials, traditional Chinese and western medicines, arrived at Laos to assist the country’s fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mar 30 A team of Chinese medical and scientific experts carrying test kits, medical protective equipment, medicines and other China-donated medical supplies arrived in Caracas, capital of Venezuela, to help fight COVID-19.
Invited by the American College of Chest Physicians, Chinese medical experts attended a network forum of COVID-19 with their American counterparts and shared experience in fighting against the virus. 🇺🇸
Mar 31 A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told a press conference in Beijing that the Chinese government had provided material assistance including medical masks, N95 masks, protective suits, nucleic acid testing reagent and ventilators to 120 countries and four international organizations. 🇺🇳
Local Chinese governments had donated medical supplies to more than 50 countries. And the Chinese enterprises donated medical supplies to more than 100 countries and international organizations. 🇺🇳

In my personal opinion, while action of members of city and provincial government were hindered by the overly structured culture of confucian concept of top down (and not upsetting people in hierarchal leadership above), yielded terrible mistakes in the early days from both delays in shutdown to unfortunate ‘whistleblower’ erroneous chastisement.  Plus, the entire unfolding of the situation during the Chinese Spring Festival time was a double edged sword — significantly less people in built up cities to become infected and isolate, but how to get those same people back to their cities during the epidemic.  Further I think it was a mistake to not close the mainland borders shortly after Spring Festival ended.

But, all in all, for a country so geographically vast, with such a massive population (1.4 billion), and diverse in its education levels, for central government to achieve what they achieved in a calm manner in such a fast response time was remarkable… particularly getting 99% voluntary support and compliance to isolation and lockdown measures in modern cities such as Shanghai, where typically, these 27 million residents question central government actions, was astonishing.

Remember, this is all coming from a liberal / centrist guy with a disdain for a lot of things here, but credit is due where credit is due to the reality of facts.

Please note that I may expand upon this timeline based on friends requests from time to time.

I hope the above is useful to you.