On January 23, China government shuts down all transportation to and from Wuhan, marking the start of a 76-day lockdown. WHO fails to declare COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency due to insufficient information

On the early morning of January 23, Wuhan Disease Control released the following notice: 

“Starting from 10 AM, all city buses, subway, ferries, long-distance buses will suspend operation. Residents shall not leave Wuhan unless absolutely necessary. Airports and train stations will be closed.”

This marks the start of the 76-day lockdown for Wuhan’s around 9 million residents. 

According to reports from CGTN and South China Morning Post, around 5 million people have already left the city before the lockdown. 

People’s Daily posts Wuhan lockdown notice, source: Sohu News 

On the same day, WHO calls an emergency meeting to discuss whether to declare COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). 

According to CNBC, WHO director Tedros admits that the group members are divided, and failed to reach an agreement: “Today, there was an excellent discussion during the Commission meeting, but it was also clear that to proceed we need more information”. 

The previous PHEIC declared by WHO include: Swine flu in 2009, Ebola outbreak in 2014, Zika virus in 2016, and Ebola outbreak in 2019.