cover covid timeline final edited
Photo Credit: Nicoco Chan

One Infographic to Understand China’s Covid-19 Timeline

A look at the key dates, developments, and lockdown locations in the pandemic of the last two years

With the Covid-19 pandemic entering its third year, the early days of confusion over “pneumonia of unknown cause” in Wuhan might feel like a distant memory for many people in China, as well as worldwide.

Between the initial Wuhan outbreak that pushed the world into a new era, and the current Shanghai lockdown which challenges China’s “dynamic zero” Covid policy in ways unforeseen, China has gone through numerous waves of outbreaks across the country. From salmon markets to mahjong parlors, the virus has a track record of stirring up storms from the least expected spots. And each surge of cases brings to light new poignant stories, lessons learned, and opportunities for innovations.

TWOC takes a look at the key moments in China’s struggles with Covid-19 thus far:

Infographics by Nicoco Chan

Contributions from Siyi Chu (褚司怡), Nicoco Chan, Sam Davies, and Hatty Liu


“‘God of Fire’ Against God of Plague—Huoshenshan Hospital was Built in 10 Days (“火神”战瘟神——火神山医院10天落成记),” Xinhua, February 3, 2020

Lily Kuo and Lillian Yang, “‘Liberation' as Wuhan's coronavirus lockdown ends after 76 days,” The Guardian, April 7, 2020

“China awards May 4th Medal to outstanding individuals, groups, including Li Wenliang,” Global Times, April 28, 2020

Xu Dawei (胥大伟), “Layers to the Health Code: Is It Really so Difficult to Cross-check Health Codes Across China? (健康码遭层层“加码” 全国范围互认真的这么难吗?

)”, April 28, 2020

“The Birth of China’s First Health Code: The Story Behind It (全国第一张健康码是怎样诞生的?背后有故事),” Shaoxing News, February 17, 2020’

“深i您 Health Code Helps Enterprises Return to Work (深i您”健康码助力企业复工复产),” The Paper, March 12, 2020.

“Covid Virus Found on Xinfadi Salmon Chopping board; Supermarkets in Beijing Pulls Salmon Offerings Overnight (新发地三文鱼案板测出新冠病毒,北京多家超市连夜下架三文鱼),” Beijing Daily, June 13, 2020

“Beijing's Xinfadi wholesale market reopens as COVID-19 outbreak ebbs,” Xinhua, August 15, 2020

Lu Yibei (卢奕贝), “Dalian experiences its third outbreak related to cold-chain storage: How important is it to guard against virus imported via frozen food (大连第三次发生冷链相关疫情,外防通过进口冻品输入病毒有多关键)?” Jiemian News, November 15, 2021.

Greg James, “Chengdu woman faces cyber-harassment after contracting COVID-19,” SupChina, December 9, 2020

“Covid-19: China approves Sinopharm vaccine for general use,“ BBC News, December 31, 2020

“WHO lists additional COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use and issues interim policy recommendations,” World Health Organization, May 7, 2021

Hannah Ritchie, Edouard Mathieu, Lucas Rodés-Guirao, Cameron Appel, Charlie Giattino, Esteban Ortiz-Ospina, Joe Hasell, Bobbie Macdonald, Diana Beltekian and Max Roser (2020) - "Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19)". Published online at Retrieved from: '' [Online Resource]

“Why so many elderly Chinese are unvaccinated,” The Economist, April 2nd, 2022

Leng Shumei, “China approves 7th self-developed COVID-19 vaccine, can cross-neutralize variants,“ Global Times, June 09, 2021

Simone McCarthy, “Sinovac is world’s most used vaccine, but how good is its Delta protection?“ South China Morning Post, July 8, 2021

“Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases,” Johns Hopkins University. Retrieved at

“64% of Cases from Covid Outbreak in Yangzhuo, Jiangsu Province, Had Exposure to Mahjong Parlors(江苏扬州新冠肺炎疫情麻将馆暴露人员占64%),” Xinhua, August 3, 2021

“All Jiangsu’s Domestic Cases Are Released from Hospitals (江苏本土确诊病例均已出院),” Xinhua, September 14, 2021

“Zooming in on Inner Mongolia Outbreak: Where Is It from? Why Is It Difficult to Control (聚焦内蒙古本轮疫情:源头来自哪里?防控难点在哪)?”, October 28, 2021

Chen Ze (陈赜), “Tour Group Covid Chain Debrief Infographics (Edition Three)(旅行团疫情传播链复盘图解(第三版)),” Nankai University, October 29, 2021

Shanzhu (山竹), “Two Years of Border City Ruili’s Fight Against Covid: Nine Lockdowns, Zero Case Spillover to Other Provinces (边境城市瑞丽的抗疫2年:9度封城 无1例蔓延外省),”, April 15, 2022

Xiong Qiang (熊强), “As told by Jade Businessperson in Ruili: Business is Limbo; One-year-old Son Has Received 74 Nucleic Acid Tests (瑞丽翡翠商人讲述:生意停滞,1岁多的儿子已做74次核酸), ” The Paper, October 29, 2021

Alexandra Stevenson, “China's Widespread Lockdowns Will Bring an Economic Toll,” The New York Times, April 14, 2022

Xiao Chunfei (肖春飞), Yang Youzong (杨有宗), and Wang Moling (王默玲), “Shanghai in Covid, ‘Fighting on Two Frontlines’ (疫情中的上海,正在“两线作战”),” Xinhua, March 29, 2022


TWOC‘s editors are a bilingual, international team that is always on the lookout for original and human-centered stories to share with our readers. We are dedicated to accuracy, objectivity, and looking at each of China's stories through the eyes of its participants. Get in touch through our About Us page if you have a story to pitch!

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