If China had acted swiftly and imposed a lockdown on Wuhan much before the 67 days it took before it finally decided to lock it down on 23 January, the number of infected countries and patients would have been drastically low from the present 10 lakh across 200 countries.
The first case of Covid-19 virus was discovered in Wuhan on 17 November 2019 by the Chinese government. By the time a complete lockdown was imposed in Wuhan, Hubei province, on 23 January, which is the ground zero of the pandemic, 67 days had passed. However, by then, as estimated 4 million people had already left the borders of the city.
India, which reported its first Covid-19 case on 31 January, stopped issuing visas to Chinese nationals on 5 February; by that time 25 countries had come under the impact of Covid 19. Four days later, on 9 February, India banned the entry of foreigners who have been to China on or after 15 January.
According to a study published in the reputed Science journal on 31 March, due to the imposition of the travel restriction that was imposed in Wuhan on 23 January, at least 7 lakh people in China were saved from getting infected. The report is being cited by Chinese media to showcase how China government’s “hard” but quick decision saved the lives of at least 7 lakh people outside of Wuhan who would have been directly infected by carriers from Wuhan if the lockdown was not imposed in Wuhan. However, more lives would have been saved worldwide if China had not waited till 23 January to lockdown Wuhan.
The study titled “An investigation of transmission control measures during the first 50 days of the Covid-19 pandemic in China” was prepared by 21 experts from different countries, including United Kingdom, China and the United States of America. As per the Chinese government’s own admission, by the time Wuhan was locked down, more than 4 million people had left the city and moved to other parts of the country and to other countries.
This figure was stated in a press conference done on 26 January by Deputy Secretary of Hubei Provincial Party Committee and Governor Wang Xiaodong, Deputy Secretary of Wuhan Municipal Party Committee and Mayor of Municipal Government Zhou Xianwang—by the time Wuhan was put under lockdown, at least 4.3 million people had already move out the city by then.
As per the World Health Organization’s situation report, that it shared with the media on 24 January, a total of 846 confirmed cases had been reported by then which included eleven confirmed cases reported outside of China in six countries. These six countries included Japan, Republic of Korea, Vietnam,Singapore, Thailand and United States of America.