Home> You May Want to Know

Timeline: China's prompt release of COVID-19 information, experience-sharing

Updated: 2021-04-13



BEIJING -- The megacity of Wuhan, where China fought a crucial battle against the COVID-19 epidemic, has recently marked its first anniversary since it ended the 76-day lockdown.

China's successful handling of the pathogen within the city and beyond has inspired other affected regions worldwide to speed up a recovery, yet some US politicians have clung on to a smear campaign against China's transparency and timeliness in sharing information at early stages of the outbreak.

Here is a timeline of how China has released timely information, shared experience, and advanced international exchange and cooperation since the onset of the pandemic:

Dec 27, 2019

-- Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine reported cases of pneumonia of unknown cause. The Wuhan municipal government conducted epidemiological investigation and testing on the patients concerned.

Dec 30, 2019

-- The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission sent out an urgent notification to medical institutions under its jurisdiction about an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown cause in the city. Upon the report of the outbreak, the National Health Commission (NHC) acted immediately to organize research into the disease.

Dec 31, 2019

-- In the small hours, the NHC dispatched a working group and an expert team to Wuhan to guide epidemic response and conduct on-site investigations.

-- The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission released its first briefing about the pneumonia outbreak on its website, confirming 27 cases and telling the public not to go to enclosed public places or gather. It advised people to wear face masks when going out.

-- The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission began to release briefings about the disease in accordance with the law.

Jan 3, 2020

-- China began to regularly inform the World Health Organization (WHO), relevant countries and regions and China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan of the outbreak.

-- China began to inform the United States of the pneumonia outbreak and response measures on a regular basis.

Jan 4, 2020

-- The head of China CDC held a telephone conversation with the director of the US CDC, briefing him about the new pneumonia. The two sides agreed to keep in close contact on information sharing and cooperation on technical matters.

Jan 8, 2020

-- An expert evaluation team from the NHC initially identified a new coronavirus as the cause of the epidemic. Meanwhile, heads of China and US CDCs talked over phone to discuss technological exchanges and cooperation.

Jan 9, 2020

-- The NHC expert team made public the first novel coronavirus strain.

Jan 11, 2020

-- China started to update the WHO and other parties concerned, daily.

Jan 12, 2020

-- The China CDC, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Wuhan Institute of Virology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 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.

Jan 21, 2020

-- The NHC started to update via its official website and its new media platform the epidemic information on a daily basis, and had updated 71 times by March 31.

Jan 22, 2020

-- The State Council Information Office held its first press conference on the novel coronavirus.

-- The 2019 Novel Coronavirus Resource database under the China National Center for Bioinformation released the novel coronavirus genome and provided information on variation analysis to the international community.

Jan 27, 2020

-- China began to hold press conference every day, under China's joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council, updating data on a daily basis, including new confirmed cases, severe cases, deaths and suspected cases, and giving briefings on measures against the epidemic.

-- The head of the NHC discussed epidemic prevention and control with the head of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a telephone call.

Jan 30, 2020

-- The NHC notified through the official channel that American experts were welcome to join the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease. The United States expressed appreciation in its reply.

Feb 2, 2020

-- The head of the NHC sent a letter to the head of the US HHS to further exchange views on bilateral cooperation in public health and epidemic prevention and control.

Feb 3, 2020

-- The English official website of China's NHC started to release epidemic information simultaneously.

-- From Jan 3 to Feb 3, China had briefed the United States on the epidemic information and control measures in China for 30 times, including sharing with US CDC project manager in China information about China's diagnosis and treatment guidelines, prevention and control guidelines, and the linkage of the novel coronavirus database that China shares with the world in real time.

Feb 8, 2020

-- The NHC gave briefings on China's anti-epidemic efforts and measures at the first meeting of the APEC health working group.

-- Health authorities of China and the United States exchanged views on arranging American experts to join the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease.

Feb 12, 2020

-- Specialists from the NHC joined a China-EU teleconference on COVID-19 related technical exchanges, introducing the latest developments of the epidemic, prevention and control measures, and international cooperation.

Feb 13, 2020

-- The head of the NHC received a letter from the head of the US HHS on bilateral cooperation in public health and COVID-19 prevention and control.

Feb 16, 2020

-- The WHO-China joint expert team, which consists of 25 experts from China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore, the United States and the WHO, started to conduct a nine-day field visit in China, inspecting cities including Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Wuhan.

Feb 18, 2020

-- The NHC sent a reply to the US HHS on further arrangements concerning bilateral health and anti-virus cooperation.

Feb 24, 2020

-- The WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 held a press conference in Beijing, concluding that China had achieved notable success in slowing the spread of the virus, blocking human-to-human transmissions, preventing or at least delaying hundreds of thousands of infections.