[The information below has been collated from sources like the Wikipedia, BBC, Al Jazeera, ANI, and TOI]
1 December 2019: In the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province, symptoms of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) were first noticed in a man.
6 December: His 53-year-old wife showed similar symptoms; hospitalized.
25 December: Two more Chinese in Wuhan quarantined after they showed similar symptoms. Later that week, hospitals in Wuhan saw an exponential increase of comparable cases.
In the same week, Dr. Li Wenliang, a 33-year old ophthalmologist, informed a group of doctors about a new virus.
31 December: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission declared that there was no clear human to human transmission of the virus. China got in touch with the World Health Organisation (WHO). They reprimanded Dr. Li Wenliang for spreading rumours.
1 January 2020: Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was shut down as several of those infected had reportedly worked at the market.
3 January 2020: Li Wenliang had to sign a declaration to the police that he had been spreading ‘fake information’. Same day, the Hubei Provincial Health Commission asked doctors not to test for new cases. Doctors had to destroy the existing samples. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reiterated its position on no human to human infection, indicating collaboration in suppression of truth.
8 January: China claimed they had identified the virus and reiterated no human to human transmission.
11 January: The Wuhan Municipality published a report stating that the infected people had a history of contact with the wet market. It reiterated the absence of human transmission.
12 January: Li Wenliang was admitted to the hospital following severe breathing problems and was put in intensive care.
13 January: Thailand reported the first case of coronavirus outside China: a Chinese woman who had a travelled to Wuhan.
14 January: WHO issued a statement saying that the preliminary investigation conducted by China showed no trace of human to human infection.
15 January: Japan reported the first case of coronavirus. The patient had no history of visiting any wet market of China. After this, the Wuhan Health Commission admitted the possibility of human transmission.
21 January: The United States reported its first confirmed case of a patient who had returned from China six days earlier.
22 January: The WHO conducts a field visit to China and concludes that human to human transmission is taking place in Wuhan.
31 January: Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, the Chief of the WHO described the virus as an "unprecedented outbreak". But he praised the "extraordinary measures" the Chinese had taken, and said there was “no reason TO LIMIT TRADE OR TRAVEL TO CHINA”. (BBC, emphasis added)
7 February: Li Wenliang passed away in hospital. Wikipedia says “A subsequent Chinese official inquiry exonerated him and the Communist Party of China formally offered a "solemn apology" to his family and revoked its admonishment of him.”
11 March: World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) as pandemic.
31 March: The virus has shut down the world, with 178 countries infected, more than 7,87,000 confirmed cases, and over 37,000 dead.
Five dates are crucial on the timeline:
1. 31 December, when China informed the WHO, but suppressed its severity.
2. 14 January, when the WHO downplayed the infectivity of the virus and misled the world community.
3. 22 January, when the WHO found out human to human transmission, but did nothing to warn the rest of the world.
4. 31 January, when the WHO refused to limit travel to and trade with China.
5. 11 March, when the WHO declared the disease as pandemic, A MONTH AND 20 DAYS LATER.
Will anyone be punished for this humongous criminal delay?
Photograph of Dr. Li Wenliang courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63046734