TORONTO -- With more than four million cases and counting, COVID-19 has hit every continent except Antarctica. From Canada to South Korea, every country has responded differently - in some cases, quite significantly.

Chart and compare the progression for jurisdictions that have reported more than 100 cases using our interactive graphs below.

Brief context and a timeline up to late March have been included for a few countries, focusing on their containment measures. Economic measures have been excluded.

These are a few examples of how Canada's reported data compares to other countries on a per-population basis. Choose countries from the dropdown menus to create your own comparisons or scroll down to read detailed timelines of select nations.

* Provinces, territories and global jurisdictions with fewer than 100 cases are not included.

For an overview on how to better understand the data, read our explainer outlining the different ways countries are reporting their numbers and what these variables could mean: Understanding COVID-19 data: Should we be comparing countries? It also looks specifically at examples including South Korea, Italy, and New Zealand to get a sense of how challenging comparisons can be, but also how crucial they will be in helping epidemiologists, scientists and other researchers learn from this pandemic.

Canada (Population 37.59 million, 2019)

Note: each region's timeline is adjusted to begin when the region announced its 100th case.

For a long time, the messaging from Canadian health officials was that the novel coronavirus outbreak risk for Canadians was low and that efforts would be concentrated on containing the spread. Government officials were also guided by advice from the World Health Organization, which had initially discouraged travel restrictions, border closures and the wearing of masks, positions that were later criticized as the spread became increasingly dire in many countries. As the tally of cases grew in Canada, an increasing number involved travel to and from the United States, where the current number of identified cases alone has already surpassed a million. Residents in both countries together made more than 65 million cross-border trips in 2017, according to Statistics Canada; the level of movement between the two countries made containment impossible without drastic measures. The 8,891 kilometre-long border was closed to non-essential travel by March 20.

For more background on Canada’s handling of COVID-19, read our report detailing the evolution of Canada’s plans to fight the virus, the response by each province, and track every case.

Timeline of Key Measures

Dec. 31

  •   The World Health Organization is informed of several unusual cases of pneumonia in Wuhan

Jan. 15

Jan. 17

Jan. 22

  • Warning signs are added at major Canadian airports, raising awareness of the new virus
  • New health screening requirements are implemented for all  passengers coming from China to airports in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Jan. 25

Jan. 29 - Feb. 2

Jan. 30

Feb. 9

Feb. 20

  • Canada confirms its first case related to travel outside China

Feb. 26

March 11

  •  The WHO declares the global outbreak a pandemic

March 12

Ontario announces all publicly funded schools will close for two weeks after March break, which is later extended

March 13

March 16

  • Government advises Canadians returning from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days
  • Government announces border closure set for after midnight on March 18; only Canadians, their families, residents, and Americans allowed

March 18

March 20

March 25

March 30

Throughout March

  • State of emergencies declared across Canada; different regions implement different restrictions on the number of people allowed in a gathering
  • Schools close across the country
  • Many restaurants and bars close or are only allowed to serve take-out
  • For a closer look at regional measures, please check out our story on how each province handled the pandemic

 

Germany (Population 82.79 million, 2018)

The country has been hit hard by COVID-19, but has received attention due to its low mortality rate of less than 1.5 per cent, compared to other European countries like Italy, where the mortality rate stands at around 12 per cent, and roughly 9 to 10 per cent for Spain, France and Britain. But the testing rate of the latter three countries is a fraction of Germany's (as of April 9) - which may also account for the higher death rate. Germany’s current testing rate for the same period seems comparable to Italy's, though some media reports indicate that Germany was able to ramp up extensive testing more quickly and earlier. Germany also has more than double the number of hospital beds than Italy and Spain, according to OECD data, and many media reports cite Germany's "expensive and extensive" public health care system as a key reason for the lower mortality rate. Like many other countries, however, there has been ongoing concern over a shortage of masks and other protective equipment.

Germany's outbreak also began mostly among young and healthy skiers who caught the virus at European ski resorts and the overall average age of infected patients is still more than a decade younger than its neighbouring countries. At first, the government appeared reluctant to impose physical distancing measures, travel restrictions, school and border closures, even as it advised against unnecessary travel and asked recent travellers from high-risk destinations to stay home. Despite the low fatality rate, the number of Germany's overall infection numbers is still among the highest in the world and some German health experts worry that the situation could worsen.

Timeline of Key Measures

Jan. 22

  • Government considers the new disease a "very low threat", and far less dangerous than SARS; no need for a travel warning for the time being

Jan. 27

  • First case confirmed

Jan. 29

  • Lufthansa, Germany’s flagship airline, suspends all flights to China
  • According to media reports, face masks are sold out, and measures to screen travellers from high-risk regions of China are in place at Frankfurt Airport, which has no direct flights to and from Wuhan

Feb. 13

  • According to media reports, the European Union discusses co-ordinated measures to mitigate the spread
  • German parliament changes its drug law so that companies can store larger quantities in the event of a shortage amid worries of production downtimes in China
  • German health minister believes any travel restrictions to and from China should be made across Europe, and not done unilaterally like in Italy; also rejects temperature screenings for inbound travellers​

Feb. 26 

  • Some regions of Germany begin closing schools and other public places such as libraries and swimming pool
  • Several sporting events are cancelled or suspended

Feb. 27

  • Travellers arriving from China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, and Italy are required to provide contact details in case they need to be tracked over possible infections​

Feb. 28 

  • 1,000 people are quarantined
  • Government orders local officials across the country to update pandemic readiness plans
  • The world’s largest travel trade fair, due to start the following week, is cancelled by organizers following recommendations that imminent major international events should not take place
  • Rail passengers must fill exit cards with contact information in case they need to be reached
  • Land border patrols are strengthened as law enforcement is asked to pay attention to suspected cases of the virus
  • Government crisis team also decides to stockpile protective gear including masks and suits

March 1

March 2

  • Robert Koch Institute (German public health institute) raises threat level for Germany to “moderate,”while the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control raises threat level for Europe to “high” from “moderate”
  • Border closures still discouraged by health minister

March 3

March 8

March 9

March 10

March 11

  •  Chancellor Merkel says the country “will do what we need to” and recommends people avoid handshakes as WHO declares pandemic
  • Parts of Germany launch drive-through COVID-19 testing

March 13

March 16

  • Germany closes its borders to surrounding countries
  • Merkel announces other measures to limit physical contact, including closing non-grocery and cultural venues, and recommends cancelling all non-essential domestic and foreign travel
  • Flights from Iran and China suspended

March 17

  • Health institute raises threat risk to “high”
  • Berlin government announce plans to build hospital that accommodates 1,000 beds
  • European Union agrees on immediate travel ban into Europe for all non-EU citizens, which Germany expands the following day to include citizens from Italy, Spain, and other EU countries
  • Physical distancing is advised

March 22

April 1

  • Physical distancing measures extended to April 19
  • New app in development to help track the spread

April 2

India (Population 1.339 billion, 2017)

There is significant worry that COVID-19 could be devastating for India, the world’s second most populous country. Despite the high risk of spread due to its dense population, testing has been extremely limited. According to the OECD, India also has just 0.5 hospital beds for every 1,000 people - China, by comparison, has 4.3 beds. Already, there are reports of outbreaks in slums, where families live in extreme poverty and crowded conditions. A sudden lockdown imposed across the country sparked a mass exodus of migrant labourers back to their home villages, raising worries of possible outbreaks in regions poorly equipped to handle a health-care crisis.

Timeline of Key Measures

Jan.-Feb.

  •  India evacuates its citizens from China

Feb. 5

  •  Travellers are advised to refrain from going to China
  •  Travellers returning from China will be quarantined

March 4

March 10

March 12

  • Quarantine required for passengers arriving from China, Korea, Iran, Italy, Spain, France, and Germany

March 16

March 18

  •  Travellers from EU, U.K., Turkey - even Indian passport holders - are banned from entering

March 19

March 22

  •  More than 75 districts and major cities where cases have been identified are locked down except essential services

March 24

 

Italy (Population 60.48 million, 2018)

The percentage of Italy’s population over 65 is the second highest in the world, second only to Japan, according to the world bank. “Dozens” were dying in nursing homes in the worst-affected areas, but were untested due to strict testing rules, according to media reports. Testing criteria also varied between jurisdictions; in the small town of Vo, mass testing was said to help quickly contain the spread. Leaders, including the president, downplayed the outbreak in the early days, resulting in initial complacency.

Timeline of Key Measures

Jan 23

Jan 31 (2 cases)

  • Government suspends all flights to and from China
  • Third country after Czech Republic and Greece to no longer receive and process visa applications in China
  • State of emergency is declared

Feb 22

  • 11 municipalities in Northern Italy are placed under quarantine, locking down 50,000+ people, penalties for violation include fines and prison
  • Schools/universities close in the affected areas
  • Public events, religious services, train service to affected areas, sporting events, carnivals including Venice are all cancelled or suspended

Feb 24

  • 500 police officers added to patrol quarantined regions
  • Key buildings, such as the Palazzo Madama, install thermal scanners for everyone entering the premise

March 4 (3,978 cases, 100 deaths)

March 8 (7,375 cases, 366 deaths)

  • Quarantine expands to all of Lombardy and more than a dozen other northern provinces, putting 16 million people under lockdow
  • Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announces nationwide closure of commercial businesses, museums, entertainment venues, etc. At the time, multiple media reports called it the most drastic response outside China

March 9 (9,172 cases, 463 deaths)

  • All of Italy (60 million people) goes under quarantine
  • Sports events within the country are cancelled

March 11 (12,462 cases, 827 deaths)

March 19

March 20

March 21 (53,578 cases, 793 deaths)

 

New Zealand (Population 4.794 million, 2017)

New Zealand, which reported its first case roughly a month after Europe and North America, may have benefited from seeing how its counterparts in Europe and North America fared and is notable due to how quickly it moved to mitigate the spread by closing its borders even when only a handful of cases were reported. Nearly two and a half months after its first case, the country is already reporting a decline in the number of new cases and has only had a 19 deaths.

Timeline of Key Measures

Jan. 28 

Feb. 3

  •  Any traveller who left from China or transited through the country would not be allowed to enter the country
  •  Only citizens and permanent residents allowed
  •  Travel advisory for all of mainland China has been raised to "do not travel"

Feb. 6

Feb. 27

  •  Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand have been added to the list of countries and regions of concern when medical professionals are assessing patients

Feb. 28

March 14

  •  All travellers returning are required to self-isolate for 14 days, including citizens
  •  Non-citizens who violate self-isolation rules must leave after quarantine​

March 18

March 19

March 20

March 23

  •  All schools close
  •  With just over 100 cases, government decides to raise national alert level to 4 in two days, which triggers a highly restrictive four-week nationwide lockdown
  •  Bars, restaurants and other non-essential services ordered toclose within two days

 

United States (Population 327.2 million, 2018)

Testing was severely hampered in the first several weeks according to medical journal articles and numerous media reports. Screening was “rationed” because only CDC – not public health or hospital labs – could run the tests initially, with a strict criteria for testing only those with known exposure. State labs also ran into verification problems with the CDC test kits, with results coming back “inconclusive or invalid due to failure of the negative control”. Under pressure by state labs to expand testing capacity, the FDA finally allowed them to develop and use their own tests by the end of February. But even when the testing criteria was loosened and testing capacity ramped up, the demand far exceeded availability. Compounding the regulatory and technical problems with testing was the political response at all levels of government, with responses between cities and states and the White House varying from skepticism to urgency to conflicting over the situation, despite warnings. Even prior to the outbreak in China, government reports, pandemic prep exercises as late as last year were not taken seriously. For a pandemic where the situation can take a drastic turn from one day to the next, the world’s richest country “squandered” an entire month, a New York Times investigation said.

Timeline of Key Measures

Jan. 21

Jan. 29

  • White House Coronavirus Task Force established to “monitor, prevent, contain, and mitigate” the pandemic’s spread

Jan. 31

Feb. 2

Feb. 26

  • Evidence of community spread as first U.S. case of unknown origin identified in California

Feb. 29

March 1

  • Florida declares public health emergency, with several other states, including New York,following suit over the following days

March 3

  • Testing restrictions are officially lifted, leaving it up to medical professionals to determine if a patient should be tested

March 11

March 12

  • CDC recommends against non-essential travel to several countries and regions including China, most of Europe, and Iran

March 13

March 16

March 19

  • Government issues a global “do not travel” advisory for its citizens

March 20

  • Additional travel restrictions are imposed on foreign nationals who had visited Europe within the previous two weeks
  • Additional quarantine and monitoring measures are added to earlier travel restrictions
  • U.S.-Canada announces temporary restriction of all non-essential travel between the two countries

March 21

  • Governors in NY, California, and other large states are ordering most businesses to close and for people to stay indoors, with varying exceptions

March 24

  • 15 states impose lockdown orders in less than a week

March 28

  • Only 2,250 tests per million have been performed, two-thirds of what South Korea was able to accomplish three weeks earlier, since regulations around testing were loosened four weeks earlier, according to the Washington Post.

 

South Korea (Population 51.47 million, 2017)

South Korea aggressively ramped up their testing capacity, contact tracing, tracking, and quarantine measures in a national, co-ordinated, and detailed fashion. “Patient 31” was identified around mid February, and was the source of a mass outbreak. Drive-through testing sites were established quickly, offering citizens an efficient way of getting tested while minimizing exposure to others, with test results sent via text within three days. A high-level of transparency, at times seen as controversial and intrusive, allowed for real-time anonymous information being shared with the public as well as tracking. Using phone GPS tracking and credit card information, and CCTV cameras, officials can trace the movements of an infected patient and alert those who were in contact or nearby. Officials are also alerted when an infected individual ventures outside their quarantine zone through a phone app. Outside Daegu, the centre of the biggest outbreak cluster and a few other cities, many parts of South Korea are operating under relatively minimal restrictions, though schools remain closed. Mask wearing is extremely common everywhere.

Timeline of Key Measures

Jan 3

  • Quarantine and screening measures placed for all travellers coming from Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization was informed on Dec. 31 of an unknown pneumonia detected in the city. They issued a press release on Jan 5)
  • Health authorities strengthen national surveillance of pneumonia cases in hospitals

Jan 20

  • First case of COVID-19 is identified in a traveller from Wuhan through thermal screening during entry at Incheon International Airport
  • Infectious disease alert is raised to from blue to yellow (level 2)
  • Public told to continue hand washing, cough etiquette, and mask-wearing if they have respiratory symptoms
  • National hotline available for public to report symptoms within 14 days of travel

Jan 21

  • Government issues travel recommendations and advisories for travellers to China
  • Inbound travellers who visited Wuhan within 14 days are asked to submit health questionnaire and to report to health officials if fever or respiratory symptoms develop

Jan 27

  • Concerned that the novel coronavirus could become a pandemic, health officials and more than 20 medical companies meet to discuss urgency of developing effective test, promising “swift regulatory approval,” according to a Reuters investigation
  • The first diagnostic test from a company is approved within a week (Feb 4) and a second company is ready by Feb 12

Jan 28

  • All inbound travellers (Korean and foreign) coming from anywhere in China subject to tougher screening and quarantine measures, including a health questionnaire at the point of entry; false information subject to a fine of up to US$10,000
  • Infectious disease alert raised to “orange” - level 3

Jan 29

  • Additional staff added to the KCDC’s national call centre to deal with an influx in calls for consultation
  • KCDC provides detailed updates on cases, contact tracing and testing
  • Additional law enforcement and health staff added to airport quarantine checkpoints

Feb 1

  • Occupational safety and health agency to provide 720,000 masks to industries and workplaces considered more vulnerable to infectious diseases due to the large number of foreign employees or visitors. These include construction, manufacturing and service industries

Feb 2-4

  • Anyone with contact with patients who tested positive must self-isolate for 14 days
  • Foreigners arriving from Hubei province are barred from entering the country
  • A separate airport arrival hall is created for travellers from China
  • Visitors must provide domestic contact information that isverified prior to entry

Feb 3

  • Daycare centres, nursing and long-term care facilities asked to temporarily close if anyone, including visitors, test positive or is a contact of a positive case

Feb 12

  • Strict quarantine measures for arrivals expand to include Hong Kong and Macao
  • The number of diagnostic test kits available, which have increased dramatically from 200 to 3,000 per day, continues to ramp up (goal is capacity for 10,000 a day, which they eventually exceed)

Feb 20

  • Confirmed cases jump, attributed to “Patient 31,” identified two days earlier, who participated in a large church gathering in Daegu

Feb 23

  • Government announces plans to designate certain hospitals as national infectious disease hospitals with orders to transfer all existing patients to other healthcare facilities by Feb 28
  • Infectious disease alert raised to "red" or level 4, the highest threat level
  • All citizens in the city of Daegu asked to self-isolate for two weeks and those with symptoms to get tested
  • First drive-through testing site is launched

Feb 25

  • South Korea to test tens of thousands of members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a key point of exposure by "Patient 31" and the main cluster

Feb 29

  • KCDC advises "social distancing" until early March and maintain good hygiene practices

Late Feb

  • Businesses allowed to stay open, but many check temperatures before at the door, and offices, hotels, etc. have thermal
  • cameras to screen for fevers
  • Public libraries, museums, churches, daycare in Daegu closed

March 6

March 10

March 9-16

  • Similar to those coming from China, all inbound travellers (both citizens and foreigners) from Japan, Italy, Iran, and within days - rest of Europe - must undergo special immigration screening, including installing a Self-Diagnosis Mobile App where they must submit daily results for 14 days (authorities will follow-up in person if travellers fail to comply with self-checks) and advised to “minimize movement”

March 17

  • Government declares several cities including Daegu "special disaster zones"
  • Reopening of daycare centres and new school semester postponed to April 5 and 6 respectively

March 18-19

  • Government advises South Koreans to cancel all non-urgent international travel
  • All travellers entering Korea must undergo special screening, including a health questionnaire, contact information, and install the Self-Diagnosis Mobile App

March 22

  • Every person at high-risk facilities in Daegu are being tested with almost 95 per cent tested already
  • All travellers arriving from Europe will automatically be tested
  • Public urged to practice social distancing until April 5 and stay home as much as possible aside from work and getting essentials
  • Restrictions placed for high-risk places such aschurches, entertainment and sports facilities

March 25

  • All travellers arriving from the U.S. will be tested at the airport