The global coronavirus pandemic has cast a long pall over 2020. Here are some of the key developments since it was first detected in China's Wuhan city.

December 31, 2019 – January 1, 2020

China reports a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei province. 

A novel coronavirus is eventually identified. The World Health Organisation (WHO) puts itself on an emergency footing to deal with the outbreak.

January 11

China announces its first death from an illness which will become known as Covid-19.

January 12

China shares the genetic sequence of Covid-19.

This map by TRT World shows the number of patients who have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus across the world as of 1300 GMT on January 20-21, 2020.
This map by TRT World shows the number of patients who have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus across the world as of 1300 GMT on January 20-21, 2020. (TRTWorld)

January 13

WHO confirms a case of Covid-19 in Thailand, the first recorded case outside of China.

January 20-21

WHO experts visit Wuhan as the US confirms the first coronavirus case. Chinese scientist confirms Covid-19 human transmission

January 23

World witnesses the first of many Covid-19 lockdowns as China places Wuhan, Huanggang cities under quarantine, locking down some 18 million people. 

January 24

France finds the first case of Covid-19, marking the entry of the virus in Europe

This map by TRT World on January 24, 2020 shows the countries reporting the first few cases of the novel coronavirus.
This map by TRT World on January 24, 2020 shows the countries reporting the first few cases of the novel coronavirus. (TRTWorld)

January 31

WHO declares a global health emergency and an "extraordinary event" that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.

The US declares coronavirus a public health emergency.

Spain reports the first confirmed coronavirus case, finding it in a German tourist in the Canary Islands, who has been in touch with people who had travelled to China.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (or 2019-nCoV).
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (or 2019-nCoV). (AP)

February 2

Dozens of countries restrict air travel to China.

February 21

Italy begins testing people after diagnosing its first local patient in Codogno, a small town in the wealthy Lombardy region.

February 23

US President Donald Trump claims the virus was "very much under control in this country", baffling experts. 

An aerial view shows the newly completed Huoshenshan Hospital, a dedicated hospital built in 8 days to treat coronavirus patients, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 2, 2020.
An aerial view shows the newly completed Huoshenshan Hospital, a dedicated hospital built in 8 days to treat coronavirus patients, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 2, 2020. (Reuters)

March 11 

WHO describes the new coronavirus as "a pandemic", saying Italy and Iran are now in the frontline of disease and other countries would "soon" join them.

March 17

The University of Minnesota begins testing Hydroxychloroquine, a medicine for the prevention and treatment of malaria.

Coronavirus claims the first victim in Turkey.

NO2 emissions in January 2020 (left) and February 2020 (right). The pandemic had a dramatic impact on the air quality of northeastern China, one of the world's biggest emitters of pollutants.
NO2 emissions in January 2020 (left) and February 2020 (right). The pandemic had a dramatic impact on the air quality of northeastern China, one of the world's biggest emitters of pollutants. (NASA)

March 30

The US authorises the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to combat Covid-19, anti-malaria drugs touted by President Trump despite inconclusive clinical proof of their efficacy. 

Hundreds of boats docked at the Elliott Bay Marina during the outbreak of coronavirus disease shown in this aerial photo over Seattle, Washington, US, on March 16, 2020.
Hundreds of boats docked at the Elliott Bay Marina during the outbreak of coronavirus disease shown in this aerial photo over Seattle, Washington, US, on March 16, 2020. (Reuters)

April 3

More than one million cases of coronavirus are recorded globally.

April 10

Global coronavirus death toll reaches 100,000 milestone, with nearly 70 percent of all fatalities now in Europe. 

April 29

US officials say Remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recover from Covid-19. 

Iranian army soldiers walk through a temporary hospital in northern Tehran, Iran on March 27, 2020.
Iranian army soldiers walk through a temporary hospital in northern Tehran, Iran on March 27, 2020. (AP)

May 1 

The US issues an emergency use authorisation for the investigational antiviral drug Remdesivir for the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 in adults and children.

May 21

US and AstraZeneca announce collaboration to develop vaccine.

May 27

The US records 100,000 deaths, more than any other country in the pandemic 

May 28 

Confirmed cases in the US top 100,000, the highest number in the world.

General view of Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, which is almost empty of worshippers after Saudi authorities suspended umrah pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on March 6, 2020.
General view of Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, which is almost empty of worshippers after Saudi authorities suspended umrah pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on March 6, 2020. (Reuters)

June 17 

WHO stops testing of hydroxychloroquine after new data and studies show no benefit.

June 29

China approves its CanSino's Covid-19 vaccine candidate for military use.

Aerial view shows relatives attending a funeral respecting sanitary protocols at the Flores cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina on August 28, 2020.
Aerial view shows relatives attending a funeral respecting sanitary protocols at the Flores cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina on August 28, 2020. (AFP)

July 6 

Hundreds of scientists say coronavirus is airborne, ask WHO to revise recommendations.

July 7

Infections in the US top 3 million coronavirus infections as virus surges in more than half of all states.

The US withdraws from WHO.

July 14

First data for the Moderna vaccine show it triggers an immune response against Covid-19. 

July 15

COVAX facility, a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to vaccines worldwide, secures engagement from more than 150 countries.

July 21

Two vaccines being developed by researchers at the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, with support from AstraZeneca, and another vaccine candidate from China's CanSino Biologics, show promising results. 

July 27 

Moderna begins phase 3 trial of its Covid-19 vaccine. 

South Africa reported nearly 567,000 cases on August 12, 2020. This map shows cumulative cases reported in the entire continent before mid-August.
South Africa reported nearly 567,000 cases on August 12, 2020. This map shows cumulative cases reported in the entire continent before mid-August. (TRTWorld)

August 8

Brazil surpasses 100,000 coronavirus deaths and three million cases of infection.

August 11

Russia approves what it calls the world's first Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V.

People's Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of campaigning bodies, accuses richer nations of
People's Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of campaigning bodies, accuses richer nations of "hoarding" more doses of Covid-19 shots than they need. Graphic from November 23, 2020. (TRTWorld)

September 1

US rejects WHO-led global effort to help develop and equitably distribute a Covid-19 vaccine, COVAX.

September 14

Pfizer and BioNTech decide to enlarge the Phase 3 trial of their Covid-19 vaccine by 50 percent.

September 21

Johnson & Johnson resumes phase 3 trial of its Janssen Covid-19 vaccine after a temporary pause.

September 23

Scientists discover more contagious coronavirus strain. 

September 27

Coronavirus death toll crosses 1 million across the world.

Three leading coronavirus candidates are compared in this map.
Three leading coronavirus candidates are compared in this map. (Enes Danis / TRTWorld)

October 2

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump test positive for coronavirus and are quarantined. 

October 3

India’s death toll rises past 100,000, becomes the third country in the world to reach the bleak milestone after the US and Brazil.

October 4

US CDC acknowledges the novel coronavirus "can linger in the air for minutes to hours" after an infected person is no longer present, acknowledging its potential for airborne transmission.  

October 11

Brazil's Covid-19 deaths top 150,000, world's highest after the US. 

Cemetery workers carry the coffin of a Covid-19 victim at a graveyard in Comas, Peru on August 5, 2020.
Cemetery workers carry the coffin of a Covid-19 victim at a graveyard in Comas, Peru on August 5, 2020. (AFP)

October 12

Johnson & Johnson halts trial of vaccine after volunteers' "unexplained illness".

October 19 

Global infection cross 40 million as the second coronavirus wave gathers pace.

October 22 

US regulators approve the first drug to treat coronavirus, remdesivir.

October 23

AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson restart vaccine trials.

Remdesivir was originally developed to treat hepatitis C and subsequently tested against Ebola.
Remdesivir was originally developed to treat hepatitis C and subsequently tested against Ebola. (TRTWorld)

November 4 

The US breaks the record with more than 100,000 infections in one day.

November 9 

Pfizer and BioNTech, co-founded by Turkish scientist Ugur Sahin, announce their vaccine is 95 percent effective against Covid-19.

November 11

The United Kingdom becomes the fifth country in the world to record more than 50,000 coronavirus-related deaths

Global Covid-19 cases hit 50 million

November 16 ­

Moderna says its preliminary phase three trial data shows its coronavirus vaccine is more than 94 percent effective against Covid-19.

November 20

Mexico is the fourth country to reach 100,000 deaths, after the US, India, and Brazil.

G20 leaders plan a collective response to Covid-19 pandemic in a summit on November 21-22, 2020.
G20 leaders plan a collective response to Covid-19 pandemic in a summit on November 21-22, 2020. (TRT World / TRTWorld)

November 23 

AstraZeneca says its vaccine is 70 percent effective in pivotal trials and could be up to 90 percent effective if a lower dose is administered ahead of a full dose.

Italy becomes the sixth nation in the world to surpass 50,000 deaths and the second in Europe after the UK. 

November 25

Turkey says it’s planning to unveil its own local Covid-19 vaccine by April 2021.

France's coronavirus death toll rises past 50,000.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored in a normal fridge which makes it much easier to distribute.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored in a normal fridge which makes it much easier to distribute. (TRTWorld)

December 5

Deaths in Iran surge beyond 50,000.

December 7

Margaret Keenan, 90, of the United Kingdom becomes the world's first person to receive a fully vetted and authorised Covid-19 shot manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech. 

The second injection, in a fitting bit of drama, goes to an 81-year-old man named William Shakespeare from Warwickshire, the county where the bard was born.

Margaret Keenan becomes the first patient to receive Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, administered by nurse May Parsons at University Hospital, Coventry, England on Tuesday, December 8, 2020.
Margaret Keenan becomes the first patient to receive Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, administered by nurse May Parsons at University Hospital, Coventry, England on Tuesday, December 8, 2020. (AP)

December 9 

UAE says China's Sinopharm vaccine is 86 percent efficient.

December 12

Global coronavirus cases top 70 million.  

December 14

First US Covid-19 vaccinations outside of clinical trials begin.

Russia announces its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine is 91.4 percent effective

Global coronavirus death toll crosses the 1.6 million mark.

December 14

UK reports new variant of coronavirus, VOC-202012/01, to WHO.

The variant first started circulating in September and is up to 70 percent more infectious, causing cases to surge in the country.

December 15 

US death toll from the coronavirus tops 300,000, more than five times the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War.

December 18

South Africa identifies a new variant of coronavirus driving a second wave of infections. 

501.V2 variant has a separate lineage from the UK, thought to spread faster with a higher load of virus found in swabs.

December 24

Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announces another variant of the virus, this one from Nigeria.

The variant has a separate lineage from the UK and South Africa.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies