Event background COVID-19

On 31 December 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China reported a cluster of 27 pneumonia cases of unknown aetiology, including seven severe cases, with a common reported link to Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market (a wholesale fish and live animal market selling different animal species) [1].

The market was closed to the public on 1 January 2020. According to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, samples from the market tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Cases showed symptoms such as fever, dry cough, dyspnoea, and radiological findings of bilateral lung infiltrates [2].

On 9 January 2020, China CDC reported that a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) had been detected as the causative agent for 15 of the 59 pneumonia cases [3]. On 10 January 2020, the first novel coronavirus genome sequence was made publicly available [4]. The sequence was deposited in the GenBank database (accession number MN908947) [5] and was uploaded to the Global Initiative on Sharing all Influenza Data (GISAID). Preliminary analysis showed that the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) clusters with the SARS-related CoV clade and differs from the core genome of known bat CoVs.



1. Wuhan City Health Committee (WCHC). Wuhan Municipal Health and Health Commission's briefing on the current pneumonia epidemic situation in our city 2019 [updated 31 December 201914 January 2020]. Available from: http://wjw.wuhan.gov.cn/front/web/showDetail/2019123108989.

2. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Risk assessment: Outbreak of acute respiratory syndrome associated with a novel coronavirus, Wuhan, China; first update 2020 [updated 22 January 2020]. Available from: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications-data/risk-assessment-outbrea….

3. News X. Experts claim that a new coronavirus is identified in Wuhan 2020 [14 January 2020]. Available from: http://www.xinhuanet.com/2020-01/09/c_1125438971.htm.

4. Holmes E. Initial genome release of novel coronavirus 2020 [14 January 2020]. Available from: http://virological.org/t/initial-genome-release-of-novel-coronavirus/319.