Experiences in Wuhan, the center of China’s Hubei province, where the first case of COVID-19 was detected, determined the country’s strategy to combat the pandemic in the coming days.
The coronavirus was first seen in Wuhan, a city established on both sides of the Yangtze River, with a population of 11 million.
The first patients were admitted to hospitals in Wuhan in November 2019 due to the disease that was initially described as a “hidden respiratory disease of unknown origin.”
1st cases were of visitors to a market in Wuhan
The common feature of the first cases was that they were visitors to the seafood market in the city.
Later, it was understood that the disease was caused by a mutated form of a beta coronavirus found in bats by passing to another carrier. It was later suggested that the virus may have been transmitted from live wild animals sold in the market.
Another claim was that COVID-19 may have accidentally spread from the Wuhan Institute of Virology Laboratory, where samples were collected and cataloged from viruses that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Disease (SARS), which emerged in China in 2002-2003.
While the number of cases increased in December 2019 and January 2020, a committee appointed by the National Health Commission conducted an investigation into whether the disease was contagious.
Entries and exits from the city were stopped on Jan. 23, 2020, following the delegation’s report that the disease was definitely contagious. Wuhan became the first city to be quarantined due to the virus.
Curfews, travel restrictions, and mass tests for virus screening, affiliation practices for the detection and surveillance of those in close contact with confirmed cases were implemented for the first time in Wuhan.
‘Zero case’ strategy
The practices in Wuhan shaped the prevention and control measures that China later implemented in other regions and cities.
The measures taken in Wuhan and the results it provided inspired the strategy of combating the pandemic, called “zero cases” aiming to isolate cases where they occur and cut the chain of transmission.
After 76 days of strict measures in the city, the number of cases was reset and the quarantine was lifted on April 7, 2020.
The success in Wuhan led the Chinese government to deal with the pandemic in other regions with the same methods. The strategy in Wuhan became a model for other parts of the country.
Path from ‘Mysterious Disease’ to COVID-19
The world became aware of the existence of COVID-19 for the first time, when China reported that a mysterious respiratory disease of unknown origin emerged in the city of Wuhan on Dec. 31, 2019.
The disease was first seen in people who visited the seafood food market in the city of Wuhan, and when the first patient applied to the hospital on Nov. 17, 2019 with the complaint of an unknown respiratory disease.
The quarantine declared in Wuhan on Jan. 22, 2020 was lifted on April 7, 2020, after the pandemic was brought under control.
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