When was the world given official notice about the novel coronavirus’s human-to-human transmission and high infection rates?

  • Day +1: Italian government suspended all flights between Italy and China, and declared a state of emergency to last six months.
  • Day +2: Trump announced travel restrictions on people coming from China; the US declares a public health emergency.
  • (Over a month passes, then …)
  • Day +41: India’s Health Ministry said the coronavirus “is not a health emergency”.
  • Day +43: Trump declared national emergency. UK described its strategy of herd immunity (reversing it only over that next weekend).
  • Day +46: Spain declared state of emergency.
  • Day +47: France declared strict national lockdown.
  • Day +49: COVID-19 deaths in Italy first exceeded those in China. Taiwan closed its borders to nonresidents.
  • Day +52: Germany issued strict social distancing measures but not lockdown.
  • Day +54: Modi announced on TV at 2000h that from midnight all of India would be under lockdown; all markets, closed; all transportation disallowed.
  1. Quah-D-2020.05-WHO-What-When-Medium
  2. Time-2020.01.30-PHEIC-WHO
  3. Branswell-H-2020.04-WHO-Rules
  4. WHO-IHR-Procedures-PHEIC
  5. WHO-IHR-Committees
  6. WHO-2020.01.23-Emergency-Committee-divided
  7. WHO-2020.01.30-Emergency-Committee-PHEIC
  8. WHO-Novel-Coronavirus-2019
  9. WHO-IHR-Emergency-Committee-2020.01



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Danny Quah

Danny Quah


Danny Quah is Dean and Li Ka Shing Professor in Economics at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS.