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China spent the crucial first days of the new coronavirus outbreak arresting people who talked about it online and harassing journalists trying to cover the story.
While Chinese officials were quick to inform world health authorities about the new disease, they appear to have tried to repress the news at home.
Disease - Cities - Wuhan - Epicentre - Virus
That could have allowed the disease to spread quickly through cities such as Wuhan, now thought to be the epicentre of the virus, because citizens were largely unaware it existed and took no precautions against it.
The move also has chilling echoes of the 2003 SARS outbreak, which China initially tried to cover up and ended with the deaths of almost 800 people.
Wuhan - City - Lockdown - Days - Cities
Wuhan, a city of 11million, has been placed on total lockdown in recent days along with seven other cities in an attempt to stop the deadly infection spreading.
The vast majority of the 850 confirmed cases have been confined to China, while all of the 26 reported deaths have occurred there - largely among older patients with pre-existing condition.
Patients - Coronavirus - Wuhan - Mid-December - Links
It is thought the first patients became infected with coronavirus in Wuhan in mid-December, all of whom had links to a seafood market in the city.
Chinese officials then reported the infection, identified at the time as an known kind of pneumonia, to the World Health Organization on December 31.
Investigation - January - Authorities - Flu - Flu
A domestic investigation was launched on January 3, with authorities saying they had ruled out flu, avian flu and another common respiratory illnesses as a cause.
Police at the time said they had arrested and punished eight people 'publishing or forwarding false information on the internet without verification.'
People - Outbreak - SARS - Disease - People
Those people are thought to have linked the new outbreak to SARS - the disease which infected 8,000 people and killed 774 people and which the Chinese government initially tried to cover up.
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