31 December 2019: The SARS-like outbreak is publicly announced. The infection cases were reported in a seafood market in the city of Wuhan, China.
7 January 2020: Chinese authorities isolated and identify a new coronavirus (novel coronavirus, nCov). Other respiratory pathogens, such as influenza, adenovirus, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), were ruled out as the cause of infection.
12 January 2020: China shares the complete genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus. The data is freely available at GenBank.
13 January 2020: Reports of the first case of infection outside China. Thai authorities reported that a Chinese woman from Wuhan travelled with her family to Thailand on January 8 and was hospitalized the same day. On January 5, the woman had experienced fever, sore throat and headaches.
16 January 2020: Japan confirms the first case of infection in the country. The Japanese man who tested positive for the virus had visited the Chinese city of Wuhan and was hospitalized on January 10.
16 January 2020: China reports the first death from respiratory illness believed to be caused by the coronavirus. The 61-year-old man died due to respiratory failure and severe pneumonia.
41 cases of infection have been confirmed so far; seven people have been released from the hospital, while six remain in critical condition.
The virus appears to have the potential to spread from person to person, even though this information is yet to be confirmed.
The Chinese response to this outbreak is being applauded by international health authorities. In contrast to the SARS outbreak of 2003, when China was heavily criticized for withholding information, the Chinese authorities are now promptly sharing crucial data.