The pandemic era: the world marks one year of Covid-19

The first cases of a mystery virus were reported to the World Health Organisation on December 31, 2019

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As the world came together to celebrate the end of a decade on December 31, 2019, global health officials were told of the emergence of a mystery virus which would go on to dominate the year to come.

The World Health Organisation was informed of patients suffering from a form of pneumonia in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

What would soon be determined to be a new form of coronavirus - named Covid-19 - would go on to greatly impact billions of lives over the course of a hugely turbulent 12 months for the entire planet.

A year on, more than 82 million infections have been recorded across the globe, resulting in the loss of 1.8 million lives.

Governments have taken steps to combat a public health crisis which has had significant implications for all segments of society.

Strict measures enforced to limit the spread of the virus have led to employees and school pupils swapping offices and classrooms  for makeshift working and learning spaces at home.

Businesses have been hit hard, lockdowns have been implemented and major events such as the Tokyo Olympics and Dubai's own Expo 2020 delayed due to the outbreak.

Here, The National charts the key moments in an unprecedented year both in the UAE and around the world.

December 31

China informs the WHO of dozens of cases of pneumonia caused by an unknown virus in Wuhan.

January 29

The UAE confirms its first four coronavirus cases after testing members of a family who travelled on holiday from Wuhan.

February 12

The disease caused by the virus is given the name Covid-19 by the WHO.

March 8

All schools and universities are initially told to close for four weeks and Spring Break begins. Places of learning would remain closed until the end of August as remote learning was implemented.

March 11

The outbreak is declared a pandemic by the WHO.

epa08854256 An Olympic rings monument is illuminated as photographers leave after taking photos of the rings lit at the waterfront of Odaiba Marine Park, in Tokyo, Japan, 01 December 2020. The Olympic rings monument has been reinstalled to its original location after maintenance work. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been rescheduled to open 23 July 2021 and run through 08 August 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic.  EPA/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

March 24

The Olympic Games - set to held in Tokyo in July and August - were postponed as Covid-19 decimated the sporting calender.

March 25

India began the world’s largest lockdown with1.3 billion people warned to stay indoors to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

March 25

In the UAE, all passenger flights are grounded and all non-essential shops are shut.

April 2

Global cases pass a million, having doubled in the space of a week.

April 4

Dubai residents are told they cannot leave home without a permit and an online system is set up to handle applications. The system remains in place until April 23.

May 4

Plans to postpone delay Expo 2020 Dubai were approved. The world's fair will be held from October 1, 2021, until March 31, 2022 and will retain its Expo 2020 title.

July 30

Pilgrims wearing face masks arrived at Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia to pray and repent near Islam’s holiest site on the most important day of Hajj.

September 29

A grim milestone is reached as the global death toll for Covid-19 passed one million.

US President Donald Trump was one of a number of high-profile figures to contract Covid-19 in 2020. AP

October 2

US President Donald Trump was hospitalised after testing positive for coronavirus. He returned to the White House three days later.

November 9

A major breakthrough was made in the fight against Covid-19 as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be 90 per cent effective against the virus.

December 9

The UAE officially registered China's Sinopharm vaccine for nationwide use after Phase 3 trials found it was 86 per cent effective against coronavirus.

December 14

UK Health Secretary said a new variant of Covid-19 had been identified in England. The mutated form of the virus has since spread around the world, including a limited presence in the UAE.

December 23

A second vaccine is made available in the Emirates, as the Pfizer-BioNTech jab is rolled out in Dubai.