Diary of a disaster: how Beijing dealt with the disease

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2008, 12:00am

November 16, 2002: First Sars case appears in Guangdong .

February 11, 2003: Guangdong government reports 305 cases of atypical pneumonia and five deaths in the province.

February 21: A medical professor from Guangzhou arrives in Hong Kong and stays in the Metropole Hotel, where he spreads the disease to 12 other guests.

March 21: The central government asks for help from the World Health Organisation to investigate the outbreak in Guangdong.

April 3: China holds its first Sars press conference. Health Minister Zhang Wenkang says the virus is under control

April 7: The WHO warns against all non-essential travel to Guangdong and Hong Kong as cases of Sars rise.

April 8: Military doctor Jiang Yanyong's letter accusing Beijing of underreporting Sars cases appears in Time magazine.

April 20: Zhang Wenkang and former Beijing Mayor Meng Xuenong are sacked for covering up the outbreak. The number of Sars cases in the capital jumps to 346.

April 23: The WHO warns against all but essential travel to Beijing and Shanxi province . Work starts on construction of an infectious disease hospital in Xiaotongshan.

April 26: Vice-premier Wu Yi is appointed health minister.

April 29: Premier Wen Jiabao appeals for understanding at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference and admits China has made mistakes in its handling of the outbreak.

May 1: More than 10,000 people in Beijing are put under quarantine.

May 8: The WHO imposes a warning against unnecessary travel to Tianjin and Inner Mongolia

May 20: Ms Wu addresses the WHO Assembly in Geneva and promises that China will co-operate with foreign countries to fight Sars.

May 23: The WHO lifts advisories against travel to Hong Kong and Guangdong.

May 26: The capital reports new infections are in single digits only.

May 29: Last Beijing Sars infection reported.

June 13: The WHO lifts its advisory against travel to all areas of the mainland except Beijing.

June 24: The WHO lifts its advisory against travel to Beijing.