COVID-19 Timeline

A timeline of COVID-19 and OT&P updates.

When managing epidemics of new infectious disease it is important to learn the lessons of the past, but also to recognise the specific variables and uncertainties of the present. Communicating risk in evolving epidemics involves recognising those uncertainties and being prepared to change advice on the basis of new and evolving evidence. Education, reliable information and effective communication are key factors in the management of epidemics of infectious disease.

As COVID-19 continues to spread in Hong Kong, and globally, information around this new disease evolves at a rapid pace. We have compiled a historical record of this evolving process for our patients. We have loaded all our previous communications such that they can be assessed in context.

Navigate through the months to see key disease milestones.

COVID-19 Timeline

August 2021
17.08

The Hong Kong Government announced that they will be tightening the travel restrictions as a response to a recent local transmission case[87].

13.08

The CDC has endorsed an additional dose of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for immunocompromised patients[86].

12.08

California, US becomes the first state to mandate all teachers and school staff to be vaccinated[85].

10.08

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is the first university in Hong Kong that will prohibit any untested and unvaccinated visitors from its campus. Meanwhile, all students, staff and university residents will have to register for a digital pass, which can only be obtained with a COVID-19 vaccination record or biweekly test results[84].

07.08

Wales has lifted most of their COVID-19 restrictions, which includes removing all limits to indoor gatherings, vaccinated adults won’t have to isolate if in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case and all businesses can now reopen[83].

02.08

Starting from today, all 18 elderly health centres (EHCs) will now provide walk-in vaccination services for members without prior booking from Monday to Friday[82].


OT&P publishes two blogs, answering concerns relating to the BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines in 12 easy questions.

July 2021
30.07
23.07

OT&P published a blog about whether if the younger age group should be vaccinated against COVID-19.

OT&P 10th podcast episode. Dr David Owens and Professor Ben Cowling discuss the evolving COVID-19 public health strategies playing out in different parts of the world.

21.07

OT&P COVID-19 Summer Update.

OT&P published a blog answering what is Long COVID?

19.07

England lifts their COVID-19 restrictions. Actions include ending social distancing, making facemasks non-mandatory, no longer imposing limits on gatherings and all closed venues will be able to reopen with no capacity limits[81].


OT&P published a blog answering whether if we need COVID-19 booster doses and a blog to answer some frequently asked questions on side effects of Hong Kong's COVID-19 vaccines.

10.07

The US government donated 2 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to assist Vietnam with its COVID-19 outbreak[80].

06.07

Hong Kong's COVID-19 Vaccination Programme has now been expanded to include approximately 2,000 more visitors who have to continue to stay in Hong Kong due to the epidemic[78].

WHO updated its patient care guidelines to include interleukin-6 receptor blockers, a class of medicines that can be lifesaving to patients who are severely or critically ill with COVID-19, especially when administered alongside corticosteroids[79].

02.07

OT&P publishes two blogs, answering concerns relating to the BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines in 12 easy questions.

June 2021
24.06

OT&P publishes a blog answering which is the best vaccine for COVID-19 – BioNTech or Sinovac.

OT&P also publishes a blog explaining what is the Delta variant.

22.06

OT&P 9th podcast episode. Dr Owens and Professor Ben Cowling discuss the recent government decision to reduce quarantine for vaccinated individuals provided they have proof of positive antibodies.

10.06

OT&P 8th podcast episode. Gira Patel joins Dr Owens to discuss the psychological impact of COVID-19.

OT&P publish a blog which questions whether Zero Covid is now a sustainable strategy.

OT&P also publish a short article about antibody testing after vaccination.

09.06

The United States plans to donate 500 million doses of vaccines that will be used to target low and middle-income countries[77].

01.06

WHO has approved the Sinovac vaccine for emergency use, giving countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities another option to tackle COVID-19[77].

May 2021
31.05

A number of private firms in Hong Kong offer various lotteries and prizes for Hong Kong residents that have received both vaccination shots. The government and many firms have also started to offer additional incentives to their employees if they are vaccinated[76].

30.05

OT&P publish the seventh podcast discussing the sustainability of a Zero Covid strategy in the context of high vaccine hesitancy.

28.05

To drive vaccination rate, Sino Group announces a lottery draw for Hong Kong residents that have been vaccinated. The grand prize includes a HK$10.8m flat. It is the first of a number of incentives offered by private organisations[75].

25.05

The Hong Kong Government expanded the vaccination programme to include Mainland residents that are staying in Hong Kong for a period of time[74].

06.05

OT&P publish a sixth podcast discussing about vaccine hesitancy in Hong Kong.

OT&P also publish the follow-up survey results relating to vaccine uptake among OT&P patients.

Gira Patel, one of OT&P's Mental Health Counsellor, also wrote about her experience quarantining in Penny's Bay.

04.05

Hong Kong government will allow flights from the UK and Ireland to resume on May 7. Hong Kong residents in the two places may fly to Hong Kong as long as they acquire a negative COVID-19 test result with samples taken 72 hours prior to departure as well as confirmation of a 21-night room reservation in a designated quarantine hotel[73].

April 2021
30.04

The United States announced 100 million adults are now fully vaccinated[71]. This date was also the lowest weekly death rate the US has recorded for 2021. According to an analysis, there was an 80% drop since January[72].

29.04

About 1,377,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to the people of Hong Kong, with about 897,100 of them receiving their first dose and about 480,500 of them getting their second dose. This equal to 11.8% of Hong Kong’s total population had taken their first shot and 6.4% that had taken their second shot.[70]

28.04

The United Kingdom administered 47.5 million vaccine doses as of this date, nearly 34 million of which are first shots. The UK is second only to Israel in terms of the proportion of the population who have received the first dose of vaccine, which stands at around 50% of their total population.[69]

23.04

India reported 332,730 new COVID-19 cases on this day, which is the highest number of daily cases globally for the second day in a row.[68]

15.04

The Hong Kong vaccination programme was expanded to cover people aged 16 to 29. People in this age group could book their vaccination shots starting at April 23.[67]

13.04

Hong Kong government kicked off the Outreach Vaccination Arrangement for Residential Care Homes (RCHs) today. The arrangement helps provide free vaccination services at RCHs for their residents and users of their day service.[66]

07.04

The coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom is now the most common strain in the United States.[65]

March 2021
29.03

OT&P 20th newsletter.

OT&P publish a fifth podcast discussing the rationale and impact of targeted quarantine measures, the effectiveness of vaccines and the challenges of vaccine hesitancy.

24.03

Hong Kong and Macau government suspended BioNTech vaccination after packaging defects were found in one batch of the vaccine. Preliminary findings show that this defect should not cause any health risks and the suspension is undertaken as a precaution. [64]

22.03

COVID-19 cases in Europe continues to increase with many fearing that this is a third wave. Several European countries have reintroduced lockdowns and imposed stricter social distancing measures as a result [63]

  • Germany prolonged its partial lockdown into April.
  • Italy extended its state of emergency until 30th
  • Poland closed most public venues for three weeks, starting from 17 March.
20.03

The UK vaccination programme is a huge success. More than 95% of elderly aged 60 or over have received their first jabs. Half of the adults in UK have also received their first dose of vaccine.

18.03

The French Government announced a four-week lockdown in Paris and parts of northern France due to the transmission of the highly contagious COVID-19 variants coupled with a slow vaccination rollout. [62]

16.03

Total COVID-19 cases surpasses 120 million.

15.03

Hong Kong was hit by a super spreader event at a fitness gym. The government reported 10 confirmed cases related to the gym on this day. Altogether, the gym cluster expanded to 109 cases.

Many residential buildings and workplaces in the Central and Western Districts are now covered by compulsory testing notices. Over 860 close contacts of cluster patients are quarantined and more than 2,200 people are required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing as a result.

03.03

Hong Kong is now rolling out the BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as part of their vaccination program.  

01.03

The United Kingdom identified six cases of the variant that was first detected in Brazil, triggering an extensive targeted testing program.[61]

February 2021
28.02

A new COVID-19 cluster in Hong Kong originates in Mr. Ming’s Chinese Dining at K11 Musea Shopping Centre. This cluster is tied to a total of 44 confirmed cases. K11 Musea shuts down for two days after the cluster number grew. [60]

26.02

Hong Kong begins the rollout of their mass vaccination program.

25.02

OT&P 19th newsletter.

OT&P publish a fourth podcast to discuss the Hong Kong's population immunity to COVID-19 and specifically the role of COVID-19 vaccinations in the normalization of life in Hong Kong.

18.02

Hong Kong government begins to ease its social distancing measures:

  • Dine-in services at restaurant can be extended by four hours until 10 pm
  • The public group gatherings limit rises from two people to four people
  • Gyms and theme parks can now reopen, but bars, clubs, and karaoke lounges will remain closed

The Hong Kong Government also authorised Sinovac vaccine as part of Hong Kong’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout program.

15.02

WHO reports that the number of reported global weekly COVID-19 cases has dropped nearly 50% due to public health measures.  [59]

14.02

The weekly confirmed cases in the US have dropped from an average of 254,002 confirmed cases to 108,153 confirmed cases within the span of January to February. This represents a 57% reduction in confirmed cases. The following measures have been implemented over this time [58]: 

  • Improved rates of mask-wearing
  • Stricter coronavirus-related restrictions, including public gatherings and indoor dining
  • Increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates
05.02

The UK government introduces mandatory hotel quarantine, starting from 15 February 2021. Anyone that travel to the UK from a country on the UK’s banned list will be required to quarantine for 10 days in a government approved facility.

04.02

Japan announced tighter COVID-19 restrictions[57]:

  • Bars and restaurants will be fined if they defy closure requests.
  • Anyone infected by COVID-19 but refuses hospitalisation, will be fined up to 500,000 yen (US$4,800) and might be sentenced to prison.
01.02

OT&P 18th newsletter.

OT&P publish a third podcast interviewing a Hong Kong doctor who has spent the last year working as a front line emergency doctor in London.

The Hong Kong Government updated the compulsory testing policy for buildings. The building will be listed for compulsory testing if[56]:  

  • There are one or more confirmed cases with unknown sources.
  • There are two or more confirmed cases found.
  • There are sewage samples test positive.

Since January 23 2021, the Hong Kong Government has closed 8 different districts in 11 days, tested nearly 10,000 people and found 14 confirmed patients.

January 2021
30.01

Marked one year since WHO declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

27.01

Total COVID-19 cases surpasses 100 million.

23.01

For the first time, Hong Kong implemented mandatory lockdown in the restricted area. More than half of the confirmed cases came from the Yau Tsim Mong District in the past two weeks. To curb the local epidemic, the government has blocked the Jordan area, and all residents must stay at home for mandatory testing.[55] 

19.01

OT&P 17th newsletter.

OT&P publish a second podcast discussing the expectations of the fourth wave in Hong Kong, the evolving new viral mutations and the outlook for immunization.

11.01

Total COVID-19 cases surpasses 90 million.

10.01
  • A new variant of the coronavirus is identified in Japan, it is different from the strains found in the UK and South Africa[54].
07.01
  • China is experiencing a new coronavirus outbreak in Hebei Province. The number of confirmed cases has continued to increase since the 2nd January in the province. A total of 123 local cases have been recorded, including 194 cases of asymptomatic infection. Hebei entered a state of emergency and the provincial capital Shijiazhuang declared a lockdown[53].
05.01
  • The number of confirmed cases in the UK has reached a new high, with more than 50,000 daily confirmed cases recorded in a week.
  • In response to the rapid spread of new virus variant, UK announced the third national lockdown[52]. The epidemic prevention measures were similar to those in March last year:
    • People will be asked to stay at home.
    • From now until mid-February, all schools in England will be shut and teaching will be moved online.
December 2020
23.12
21.12
  • Hong Kong government announced new travel restrictions on the UK[51]:
    • Starting from midnight on the 22nd, any passengers who have been in the UK for more than 2 hours in the past 14 days will be prohibited from arriving in Hong Kong.
    • Any passengers who have been in the United Kingdom and are now arriving in Hong Kong will be required to complete the "14+7" quarantine, which includes 14 days of compulsory hotel quarantine and 7 days of mandatory stay-at-home order.
20.12
  • Many European countries impose new travel bans on the UK after it reported a more contagious coronavirus variant. Germany, France, Italy, Iceland, the Netherlands, and Belgium are included in the list imposing the travel ban[50].
19.12
  • The UK reported that the new COVID-19 variant is 70% more easily transmitted.
  • UK announced a new tier-four restriction in London and South East England over Christmas to curb the spread of COVID-19[49].
18.12
  • South Africa announced a new COVID-19 mutation that was spreading within the country. The new coronavirus variant is named “501Y.V2”[48].
16.12

OT&P 16th newsletter.

OT&P publish the first podcast update about the transmission of COVID-19, Closing Schools and the balance of public health measures. This episode features Professor Ben Cowling, who is the division head of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong.

OT&P also publish a blog about vaccines for COVID-19.

14.12
  • The UK identified a new strain of COVID-19 (501Y.V1) that suggests an increase in transmission[47].
11.12
  • The Hong Kong Government has announced the procurement of three different vaccine candidates which will be dependent upon peer-reviewed evidence from ongoing studies.
10.12
  • The Hong Kong Government continues to tighten social distancing restrictions to cope with the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections:
    • Social gathering that includes more than a group of two people is banned.
    • No dine-in services are allowed after 6:00 pm.
    • Gym, beauty salons, amusement parks, swimming pools and other premises are also closed.
  • China’s Sinopharm vaccine is 86% effective against COVID-19, according to the UAE’s preliminary results[46].
8.12
  • The United Kingdom becomes the first country to rollout Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to its citizens[45].
3.12
  • Hong Kong's Education Bureau announced the closure of all schools until 2021.
November 2020
25.11

Total COVID-19 cases surpasses 60 million.

23.11
  • Hong Kong entered a fourth wave of COVID-19 outbreak with over 600 cases linked to the dance club cluster:
    • Hong Kong closed all kindergartens and primary schools as a response to COVID-19 cases increasing.
    • Plans for the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble has been put on hold.
    • Hong Kong government launched a contact tracing initiative in a mobile app format to track untraceable infections.
18.11
  • Pfizer’s vaccine is 95% effective against COVID-19, according to the interim analysis[44].
  • New York City in the United States shuts down all the public schools as the cases continue to rise.
16.11
  • Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective as announced by the company[43].
2.11
  • Germany also initiated a partial lockdown [42]:
    • Bars, restaurants, tattoo shops and massage parlours will close.
    • Social contacts are limited to two households and must not exceed the maximum of 10 people.
    • School and kindergartens will remain open.
1.11
  • UK announced that there will be a second national lockdown[41]:
    • People are told to stay at home unless they have an essential reason to leave.
    • Bars, restaurants and non-essential shops will be closed, but takeaways and click-and-collect shops are permitted to remain open.
    • Leisure and entertainment venues will also close.
    • Schools can remain open.
October 2020
30.10
  • Hong Kong government continues to ease social distance rules as COVID-19 cases decline [39]:
    • Restaurants can now offer dine-in services to 2 AM.
    • Pubs are allowed to serve up to 4 people per table and restaurants can serve up to 6 people per table.
    • The maximum of public gathering remains unchanged at 4 people.
  • France imposed a second national lockdown in the country due to the surge of COVID-19 cases. People are required to stay at home, no social gathering is allowed [40].
29.10

Total COVID-19 death toll surpasses 1 million.

27.10
  • Melbourne is lifting the lockdown restriction after zero COVID-19 cases reported on 26th October [38]:
    • “Stay-at-home” order is changed to “Stay-safe”.
    • Restaurants, hotels, and retail stores are permitted to reopen with the group limits of 10 persons indoor.
    • Entertainment and other venues, including beauty salons, tattoo parlours are also allowed to reopen.
    • Weddings are allowed with up to 10 people.
19.10

Total COVID-19 cases surpasses 40 million.

08.10
  • South Korea and Japan relaxed their restriction on business travel with a bilateral agreement. Short-term business travellers are exempted from 14-days quarantine [37].

September 2020
September update
25.09
  • Coronavirus cases continued resurging in many European countries:
    • France reported 16,068 confirmed cases, which is higher than the record of 5,483 during the first wave.
    • The UK reported 6,634 confirmed cases, which is the highest daily cases so far.
    • Spain reports 12,245 confirmed cases, recording over 75,000 cases in the past seven days.
22.09
  • As confirmed cases are rising, the United Kingdom releases new COVID-19 restrictions starting from 24 September, it could last six months [36]:
    • Social gatherings above groups of six are banned.
    • Hospitality venues must close before 10 pm.
    • The number of wedding guests is capped at 15.
18.09

Total COVID-19 cases surpass 30 million.

  • Hong Kong government continues to ease social distancing restrictions as cases decline[35]:
    • Dine-in services at catering premises are extended to 12 pm.
    • Some indoor premises can reopen, includes bars, karaoke, theme parks.
11.09
  • Hong Kong government relaxes social distance rules as Covid-19 cases drop[34]:
  • Hong Kong government further relaxes social distancing restrictions:
    • Public group gathering limit rises from two to four people.
    • Wearing a mask is no longer mandatory for outdoor exercise.
04.09
  • Hong Kong has recorded less than 20 new cases daily in the past 6 days.
  • Hong Kong government further relaxes social distancing restrictions:
    • Restaurants can now offer dine-in services until 10 pm.
    • Some indoor premises are allowed to reopen, including gyms, and massage parlours.

OT&P 15th newsletter. This is also the first newsletter to have an audio version available. 

OT&P publish findings of a recent study exploring our patient perceptions of the mass testing program: 'Survey of Patient Perceptions of the Hong Kong Mass Testing Program and Recognition of Potential Barriers to Testing'.

01.09
  • Hong Kong government launches the universal community testing programme, all Hong Kong residents can get one-off free COVID-19 testing.
August 2020
28.08
  • Japan announces the decision to lift travel restrictions on foreigners’ re-entry, allowing foreigners with resident status to return to Japan from Sep 1.[32]
  • South Korea extends level-2 restrictions until September 6, in response to a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.[33]
  • In the past 11 days, Hong Kong has recorded less than 50 new daily cases.
  • Hong Kong government lifts the social distancing restrictions gradually:
    • Restaurants can now offer dine-in services to 9 pm.
    • Beauty salons, cinemas, and some outdoor sports venues can now reopen.
12.08
  • Europe’s coronavirus confirmed cases surge [31]:
    • Germany reports its highest daily increase in cases since May, more than 6,740 people are infected in the past 7 days.
    • France reports 2,524 new confirmed cases today, it is the biggest daily rise in cases since May.
    • Spain is experiencing a second wave of outbreak, 5,487 new cases were recorded on August 9.
10.08

Total COVID-19 cases surpass 20 million.

01.08
  • The UK delays plans to relax remaining restrictions as the virus spikes.[30]
July 2020
World-Map-Infographic_July
27.07
  • For the sixth day in a row, Hong Kong continues to record new cases that reach triple-digits.[29]
  • As a result, the Hong Kong government announces a series of new measures that will come into effect from July 29th:
    • Gathering in public will be limited to only two people per group. Members of the same family are exempted.
    • Restaurants are unable to offer dine-in services for the whole day. Certain public establishments are exempted, such as eateries in public hospitals.
    • Masks are now required outdoors as well. There are no exemptions for exercising or smoking.
22.07
19.07
  • A total of 108 new cases were confirmed, the highest since March. 83 of these cases were local.
  • The Hong Kong government announced a series of new measures, including[28]:
    • Restaurants are unable to offer eat-in services from 6 pm to 5 am. Only takeaway will be available during this time.
    • Mask-wearing is now mandatory in all indoor public places.
    • Gyms, beauty salons and 15 other venues are also temporarily closed.
13.07
  • As a result of the increasing number of local cases, the government reintroduces previous social gathering restrictions.
07.07
  • Hong Kong identifies 16 locally infected people from different districts. This is the highest local increase in cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
05.07
  • A cook in a local restaurant is confirmed positive, breaking the 21-day streak of no confirmed local cases.

This also marks the start of Hong Kong's third "wave" with COVID-19.[27]

03.07

Total COVID-19 cases surpasses 11 million.

June 2020
World-Map-Infographic_June
27.06

Total COVID-19 cases surpasses 10 million.

19.06
  • WHO update face masks guidelines.[26]
08.06
  • The United Kingdom announced that non-essential overseas travel restrictions will be eased 14 day quarantine will be lifted.[25]
04.06
  • A cluster was identified in Kwai Chung and Sha Tin, Hong Kong. As a result, the Hong Kong Government evacuated some residents.[24]
02.06
  • Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine commences phase 2 trials.[23]
May 2020
30.05
  • There was a confirmed case of a 34-year-old woman with no recent travel history, resulting in an extension of Hong Kong's social distancing measures.[22]
15.05
11.05

OT&P publish a blog asking ‘what we know about COVID-19 and how lifestyle and diet affect the severity of the disease?’

05.05
  • The Hong Kong government start easing the restrictions implemented in April, allowing beauty salons and gyms to reopen.[21]
April 2020
World-Map-Infographic_April
24.04
  • The FDA posted a caution against using hydroxychloroquine as a treatment option for COVID-19.[20]
22.04
17.04
14.04
09.04

OT&P announce a study with the University of Hong Kong. The study will provide evidence of the effectiveness of the community-wide interventions that Hong Kong has been implementing. The study required 1,500 volunteers to donate a blood sample. The response to the newsletter was extraordinary, such that we had more than 3,000 volunteers within 4 hours and the study was oversubscribed.

06.04
  • For the first time since the outbreak began, China reported its first day with no COVID-19 deaths.

We published a COVID-19 Q&A.

03.04
  • As a result of the Lan Kwai Fong cluster, all pubs and bars were also ordered to close for 14 days.
02.04

Total COVID-19 cases surpasses 1 million.

01.04
  • The Hong Kong government also announced the temporary closure of all karaoke lounges, nightclubs, beauty parlours, massage parlours, clubhouses and mahjong premises.
March 2020
World-Map-Infographic_March
27.03
  • The Hong Kong government announces further restrictions, banning any indoor or outdoor gathering of more than four people. Restaurants were also required to operate at half their capacity and to set their tables at least 1.5 metres apart.[19]
25.03
  • Hong Kong announces the closure of its border to all incoming non-residents arriving from overseas. Transiting through Hong Kong was also no longer allowed. In addition, all returning residents were subject to compulsory quarantine for 14 days. Returning residents from high-risk countries were required to go through enhanced screening procedures and submit a saliva sample for testing.[18]
24.03
  • The United Kingdom goes into lockdown.[17]

23.03
  • Wuhan begins easing of its two-month-long lockdown and starts reopening the city to anyone that could provide a "green code of health". Non-residents were also allowed to apply to leave the city as travel resumes.[16]
20.03

Hong Kong records 48 new infections, the biggest daily tally so far.[15]

19.03
  • China reports no local transmission for the first day.

As more politicians made bleak predictions about COVID-19, we discussed the danger of predictions of mortality in evolving epidemics.

17.03
  • The first human trials of a coronavirus vaccine begin in Seattle, United States.[14]
14.03
  • China introduces 14-day quarantine for any overseas arrival.[13]
13.03
11.03

WHO declares the coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic.[12]

06.03
  • The United States reports an increasing number of cases, including Washington, California, Florida, Arizona, Indiana. New York City reports 44 confirmed cases on this date. This marks the beginning of the U.S's COVID-19 epidemic.[11]
02.03
  • Wuhan closed its first makeshift hospital, marking the beginning of the cluster in Wuhan coming under control.[9]

Hong Kong reaches the milestone of 100 confirmed cases.[10]

February 2020
World-Map-Infographic_Febuary
27.02
26.02

We asked the question ‘How do we get back to normal?

21.02

OT&P 4th newsletter

We emphasised a focus on two distinct but different concepts: the disease and the epidemic.

20.02
  • A patient in his 30s tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) in Codogno Hospital (Lodi, Lombardy, Italy). Over the next 24 hours, the number of reported cases would increase to 36, many without links to the Codogno patient or previously identified positive cases. A first COVID-19 death in a 78-year-old man was also reported. It is the beginning of the Italian epidemic.[8]
19.02

To assist parents in dealing with school closure, OT&P children’s behavioural therapist wrote an article on how to maintain structure at home during this period.


South Korea reports over 20 more cases on this day, marking the beginning of the outbreak cluster in Daegu, South Korea.[7]

14.02
12.02
  • Onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, 175 people are infected with the virus. Over the following days and weeks, almost 700 people will be infected onboard.
11.02
  • Coronavirus is officially named COVID-19.
09.02
  • The death toll in China rises to 800+, surpassing SARS related deaths.
07.02
  • Hong Kong introduces prison sentences for anyone breaching quarantine rules.
06.02
05.02

Communicating risk in an epidemic: A personal perspective written by Dr David Owens as a reflection of his previous experience of the epidemics of TB, HIV and SARS.

04.02

First death recorded in Hong Kong from COVID-19. A 39-year old male who had travelled to Wuhan on the 21st of January with an underlying illness.

02.02
  • The first COVID-19 death was reported outside of China, a 44-year-old Wuhan resident who died in the Philippines.
January 2020
world-map-infographic-covid
31.01
  • The United States declares COVID-19 a public health emergency and imposes a mandatory 14-day quarantine to any U.S citizen that had visited Hubei Province in China. Additionally, all non-U.S. nationals that have travelled to China two weeks before their flight will be denied entry.[6]

OT&P published a blog explaining why the WHO has declared the global health emergency.


The first two COVID-19 cases are confirmed in the UK.[6]

30.01
  • WHO Director-General declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and advises “all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoV infection”.
  • As a response of the evolving situation in Hong Kong, The Leisure and Cultural Services Department announces the closure of all public museums, public libraries and sport centres until further notice.[5]
  • The United States reported its first locally transmitted case in Chicago.
  • Hong Kong’s first case of local transmission is recorded.
29.01
28.01
  • The Hong Kong government started implementing border control and reducing traffic from Mainland China. They also announced their first work at home recommendation on this day.[4]
27.01
  • In Germany, the first cluster of infections with person-to-person transmission from asymptomatic patients in Europe was reported. The source of infection was an individual from Shanghai visiting a company in Bavaria.
25.01
  • As health authorities in Hong Kong confirmed more cases, the Hong Kong government officially declared the viral outbreak as an "emergency".
23.01

OT&P produce their first newsletter.

The first blog: the distinction between the disease and the epidemic was published.

22.01
  • A WHO China office field mission to Wuhan issued a statement saying that there was evidence of human-to-human transmission in Wuhan, but more investigation was needed to understand the full extent of transmission.[3]

Hong Kong also recorded its first positive case, a 39-year-old man who arrived in Hong Kong from China.

20.01
  • China reports three deaths and more than 200 infections. Cases are now also diagnosed outside Hubei province (Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen). Asian countries begin to introduce mandatory screenings at airports of all arrivals from high-risk areas of China.
  • The United States reported its first COVID-19 case.
10.01
  • The gene sequencing data of the new virus was posted on Virological.org by researchers from Fudan University, Shanghai.
06.01
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) issues an alert that 44 patients with pneumonia of unknown etiology have been reported by the national authorities in China. Of the 44 cases reported, 11 are severely ill while the remaining 33 patients are in stable condition[2].
December 2019
30.12
  • Li Wenliang[1], a 34-year-old ophthalmologist from Wuhan, posts a message on a WeChat group alerting fellow doctors to a new disease at his hospital in late December.

We will continue to update this timeline regularly to include major milestones and information. If you’d like to receive updates directly to your inbox, please subscribe to our newsletter.

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Testing and detection is an important aspect of controlling the spread of COVID-19. Our test includes a consultation with a GP (teleconsultations available), deep throat saliva test and a personalised results report.

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