Covid-19: A Timeline

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November 2019

November 17

The original case of an infection from the novel coronavirus was said to have been that of a 55-year-old man, “Patient Zero,” in Hubei province. However, the novel virus was not recognized at that time.

December 2019

December 1

The first known patient to experience symptoms of the novel coronavirus was documented in China.

December 8-18

Seven patients diagnosed with coronavirus were documented. This was also the first time the virus spread was linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.

December 31

The World Health Organization (WHO) China Country Office was informed about cases of pneumonia with unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei province of China.

January 2020

January 7

China identified a new type of coronavirus.

January 9

The WHO confirmed the mystery virus as a new strain of coronavirus.

January 10

China shared globally the genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus to be used in “developing specific diagnostic kits.”

January 20

The WHO reported 282 confirmed cases of the 2019-nCoV from four countries including China (278 cases), Thailand (2 cases), Japan (1 case) and the Republic of Korea (1 case).

January 21

The WHO reported a total of 314 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV globally. Six deaths were from Wuhan.

January 23

The WHO reported a total of 581 cases worldwide, of which 571 cases were from China; other cases were from Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Taipei Municipality, China, Macau Special Administrative Region, United States of America, and the Republic of Korea. All cases had travel history to Wuhan. Seventeen deaths were reported (all from Hubei province). An immediate lockdown of Wuhan and three neighboring cities was ordered. Authorities shut down the airport, bus, and train lines and banned private car transport. However, the lockdown was later seen as too late, delaying its spread to the rest of China by three to five days and to the rest of the world by a few weeks. A later study published by Science showed that at 100 undetected (untested and asymptomatic) but infectious travelers had already been on the move prior to lockdown and were likely the ones who had spread it to the rest of the world. Even though international air connections from Wuhan were banned on this day, other internationally connected Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Xiamen, and Kumning still maintained direct links to Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Russia, UK, Canada, Germany, UAE, India, Italy, and France.

January 24

The WHO reported a total of 846 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV globally—China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Taipei, Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Republic of Singapore, Thailand, and USA. Twenty-five deaths in China have been reported.

January 25

The WHO reported a total of 1,320 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV globally. Forty-one deaths in China were reported.

January 28

The Philippines temporarily stopped issuing visas to travelers from Hubei province. The Philippine Bureau of Immigration also temporarily suspended the visa upon arrival (VUA) mechanism for Chinese tourists and businessmen. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) called for a voluntary repatriation for Filipinos in Hubei who wish to come home.

January 30

The WHO confirmed 7,818 cases in the West Pacific, Southeast Asia, Americas, Europe, and the Eastern Mediterranean regions. Six thousand people on-board an Italian cruise ship were briefly quarantined as tests were carried out on two Chinese passengers suspected of having coronavirus, a spokesman for the Costa Crociere cruise company said. The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the WHO declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” The first-ever case of the 2019-nCoV was confirmed in the Philippines—a 38-year-old Chinese woman who was confined at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.

January 31

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte imposed a travel ban on Chinese citizens coming from Hubei province and other areas of China.

February 2020

February 1

Every province of China reported at least one case.

February 2

The WHO reported a total of 14, 557 confirmed cases globally. The second local case was confirmed: a 44-year-old Chinese man who died a day earlier. This was also the first confirmed death from the disease outside mainland China.

February 3

The Diamond Princess cruise ship was put under quarantine for 14 days. Around 3,700 passengers and crew were on board, one of which was an 80-year-old man from Hong Kong who tested positive for the virus. It was later reported by the DOH that the second local patient to recover from the virus was a “31-year-old Filipino male who was repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan.”

February 5

Only a few days after the Diamond Princess cruise ship incident, the World Dream cruise ship quarantined 3,600 passengers and crew members after having previously carried eight infected passengers who tested positive for the virus.

February 11

The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) identified the 2019-nCoV as “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” or SARS-CoV-2, genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak in 2003. The WHO officially named the new disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 as “COVID-19”.

February 11

US Pres. Donald Trump called the Democratic Party’s criticism of his response to the new coronavirus outbreak as “their new hoax.”

March 2020

March 3

A total of 80,151 cases were confirmed in mainland China. Internationally, there were 10,566 additional cases reported in 72 countries.

March 5

The first case in the Philippines with no travel history abroad was confirmed—a 62-year-old male who frequented a Muslim prayer hall in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila.

March 7

The WHO registered 100,000 cases of COVID-19 around the world and advised all countries and communities to “implement robust containment and control activities.” It notes that it took three months to reach this “tragic milestone.” The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) reported the first case of local transmission in the country after verifying with the Bureau of Immigration that the identified patient had no recent travel history.

March 11

The COVID-19 outbreak was declared as a pandemic by the WHO.

March 12

President Rodrigo Duterte announced a partial lockdown of Metro Manila (16 cities and one municipality) starting 12 midnight on 15 March. Land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila were suspended until 14 April 2020. Mass transportation within Metro Manila continued to operate following social distancing guidelines.

March 13

The WHO announced Europe as the epicenter of the pandemic—with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China.

March 15

The Philippine government placed the National Capital Region (NCR) and the municipality of Cainta, Rizal under “community quarantine” or partial lockdown that will last until 14 ApriI.

March 16

President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of calamity in the Philippines and ordered that the entire island of Luzon be placed under an enhanced community quarantine— a modified version of a lockdown. The DOH confirmed reports of the first recovered Filipino COVID-19 case.

March 18

The WHO reported a total of 191,127 confirmed cases and 7,807 deaths around the world. A hopeful milestone made news around the world: Chinese officials announced that they “have seen a new dawn” as the country records a landmark of no new local infections. However, the news was accompanied by an ominous report of 34 new foreign-introduced cases, signaling that China could once again be threatened by a second wave of infection from foreigners visiting the country.

March 19

COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surpassed the two-hundred mark with the DOH confirming 217 cases—8 recoveries, and 17 deaths. China recorded a second day of no new local infections.

March 20

WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus reported another “tragic milestone”: more than 200,000 infected worldwide, including 9,000 deaths. It took three months to reach 100,000 cases and only 12 days to double that. Italy’s death toll from COVID-19 rose to 3,405, overtaking the total number of disease-related deaths in China. The state of California orders a stay-at-home order to all 40 million residents. China recorded a third day of no local infections.

March 21

The Philippines posted its biggest single-day increase of cases since the outbreak began in January, with 77 new cases testing positive for COVID-19. The Department of Health tallied the country’s total at 307 cases, with 13 recoveries and 19 deaths. The country meanwhile received a second batch of donations from China including 100,000 testing kits. China recorded a fourth day of no local infections.

March 22

An ominous milestone was reported when John Hopkins University announced that the global pandemic topped 300,000, with over 13,000 fatalities all over the world. The US alone reported more than 26,000 cases of infection, placing it as the fourth hardest hit country after China, Italy, and Spain. Italy reported the highest yet recorded fatalities of 793 in a single day, with Spain recording over 300 deaths, making Europe the epicenter of the pandemic. WHO stated that more cases were being reported in Europe every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic. Warning signs of an impending massive outbreak in the US were signaled by 45 states shutting down schools, bars, and restaurants, and implementing social distancing rules. The Philippines reported 73 new cases, bringing the total to 380 with 15 recoveries and 25 deaths. China recorded a fifth day of almost no new local infections, except for one in Guangdong. WHO also launched Solidarity, the world’s largest megatrial of four coronavirus medical pharmaceutical interventions, which included an antiviral compound called remdesivir; the malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine; a combination of two HIV drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir; and that same combination plus interferon-beta.

March 23

The US CDC reported that SARS-CoV-2 can live up to 17 days on surfaces of contaminated and non-contaminated cabins inside the Diamond Princess cruise ship after its passengers had left. The Philippines hit 462 total COVID-19 cases, with a death toll of 33. In addition, 82 new cases and 18 recoveries were reported.

March 24

US President Donald Trump signaled that the US will reopen for business by Easter Sunday, which will be on April 12. He stated that “Easter’s a very special day for me... Wouldn’t it be great to have all the churches full? You’ll have packed churches all over our country … I think it’ll be a beautiful time.” This U-turn in American public health policy came as John Hopkins University confirmed a fast ballooning number of 46,500 COVID-19 cases, including 590 deaths in the US. China announced that it has no new local infections. However it reported 74 imported cases. The Chinese government said it is lifting travel restriction in the first COVID-19 epicenter, Hubei province, starting on April 8.

March 25

The world recorded another tragic milestone: 400,000 cases with 18,277 fatalities. In summary it took 67 days to reach 100,000 infections, 11 days to reach 200,000, another four more days to reach 300,000, and just two more days to reach this grim milestone. WHO predicted that the US could soon become the new epicenter of COVID-19 with 49,519 cases and 813 deaths. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is postponed to a future date. China recorded zero local infections. Philippine DOH reported a total of 636 cases, of which 38 are fatalities.

April 2020

April 2

Global confirmed COVID-19 cases topped one million as per the statistics compiled of John Hopkins University and Medicine.

April 3

Coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. surpassed the 7,000 mark with US-wide infections reaching 277,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

April 5

Spain reported its third consecutive day of falling death counts. New York recorded 630 deaths, a record high. Worldwide, more than 1.2 million cases of coronavirus have been reported, according to John Hopkins University. The US registered the most confirmed infections at 312,1245. Globally, Italy has suffered the most fatalities with 15,362, while Spain was second-worst hit with 12,418 deaths. The Philippines recorded 3,246 cases, with 152 fatalities, or a 4.6% fatality rate.


On 9 August 2021, the Department of Health announced that the country was at high risk due to a surge believed to have been caused by the Delta variant of the virus, which is twice as infectious and deadlier than the original virus.[42][43] The DOH recorded a daily average of 8,695 COVID-19 infections from 1 to 7 August 2021, a sizable increase from the 6,498 daily average cases in the week prior. On 11 September 2021, the country recorded 26,303 new cases, the highest single-day tally since the pandemic began. The following day, the case numbers breached the 2-million mark as the country recorded 21,411 new infections, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines to 2,227,367. By mid-September, the case numbers started to decrease, although tens of thousands would contract the virus through the rest of the month.

On 4 November 2021, public health researchers said that the surge caused by the Delta variant had ended, with case numbers back to pre-surge levels. The daily average number of cases over a seven-day period was 630, while the positivity rate had gone down to 4%, which meant the country was at low risk according to the World Health Organization's standards. In the first week of December 2021, the daily average number of cases was 105, while the positivity rate was 1.1 percent, leading the country to be considered at "very low risk."


With the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus worldwide in December 2021, the country experienced a steady increase in cases in the last week of the month. Although only 310 cases were logged on 24 December, 2,961 cases were recorded on the last day of the year.[46][47] On 7 January 2022, the country had 21,819 new COVID-19 cases, the highest number of cases since 18 September 2021.[48] On 10 January, the DOH tallied 33,169 new cases, the highest since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.


Local and international news reports from GMA Network, CNBC, Business Insider, MSN, Science Mag, Rappler, CNN Philippines, Philippine Department of Health, US, European, and Philippine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and World Health Organization.


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