Coronavirus marks the biggest challenge for Chinese President Xi Jinping since he took control of the country in 2012.
Tens of millions of people remain in quarantine, economic growth forecasts have been slashed, countries around the world have closed their borders to Chinese arrivals and people are furious with the authoritarian government.
The virus has now infected more than 83,000 people worldwide, and caused 2800 deaths. While the majority of cases are contained to China, it's now spread to every continent besides Antarctica, prompting fears of a pandemic.
Chinese authorities have been blamed for allowing the virus to spread as far as it did, by hushing up the initial spread and downplaying its transmission.
Local authorities in Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus, had first hoped the virus would disappear on its own. Their kneejerk response was to cover up anything negative in the hope it wouldn't get back to Xi's inner circle.
On December 31, the Wuhan government made its first official announcement that 27 people had fallen ill to a mysterious virus that appeared to stem from a seafood market.
But it denied human-to-human transmission – a crucial factor that differentiates more easily quashable illnesses from full-blown epidemics.
Over the following two weeks, infections rose, emergency wards filled up, people who had never stepped foot in the seafood market fell ill, and medical workers became infected.
It wasn't until January 20, three weeks after Wuhan's first announcement, that the human-to-human transmission was confirmed. Three days later, drawing from its Sars 2003 playbook, the Chinese Government locked down Wuhan and several other cities in Hubei.
Wuhan's mayor Zhou Xianwang later took responsibility for the delay, but he effectively said his hands were tied by the central party's rule.
"After I receive information, I can only release it when I'm authorised," he said.
A national law dictates that local governments can only declare an epidemic after receiving approval from the Chinese Communist Party. In other words, Wuhan needed to get the okay from Beijing before telling the whole truth about the virus.
One might argue Xi didn't fully realise what was happening until it was too late.
But earlier this month, a transcript of a private speech the leader made later that he knew about the virus spreading much sooner than originally thought.
The Chinese leader issued orders on fighting the coronavirus on January 7, during a meeting of the country's Politburo Standing Committee, almost two weeks before his first public comments on the deadly disease.
"I issued demands during a Politburo Standing Committee meeting on January 7 for work to contain the outbreak. On January 20, I gave special instructions about the work to prevent and control the outbreak and I have said we have to pay high attention to it," said.
He also revealed he had personally ordered the lockdown of the virus epicentre.
"On January 22, in light of the epidemic's rapid spread and the challenges of prevention and control, I made a clear request that Hubei province implement comprehensive and stringent controls over the outflow of people," Xi said.
It wasn't until January 23 that Chinese authorities banned travel in and out of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak. By that point, thousands of people had already travelled in and out of the city, around the mainland and overseas.
Since January, there has been a rare outpouring of criticism in China over authorities' initial attempts to suppress information about the disease.
China's social media pages have been flooded with angry netizens criticising officials for failing to contain the initial outbreak in the locked-down city.
Much of the anger was because authorities initially suppressed information of the outbreak.
Of course, public dissidence is the last thing iron-fist-ruling Beijing wants to see. So why didn't Xi say anything sooner?
In an opinion piece for The Guardian, exiled Chinese author Ma Jian said the party "always places its own survival above the welfare of the people".
The defining symbol of this was Dr Li Wenliang, the ophthalmologist who was reprimanded for warning his former medical classmates about the virus at its onset, before he died from the virus.
On January 30, while on his deathbed, Dr Li told Beijing-based journal Caixin: "A healthy society cannot have just one voice."
"In that one sentence, he identified the root cause of China's sickness," writes Ma. "Xi suppresses truth and information to create his utopian 'harmonious' society.
"But harmony can only emerge from a plurality of differing voices, not from the one-note monologue of a tyrant."