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Could the coronavirus pandemic have been avoided? This is the question at the heart of the Financial Times new six-part series.

Our reporters spoke to dozens of medical professionals, government officials and ordinary citizens of Wuhan to find out what went wrong in the first weeks of the outbreak.

The people who spoke to the FT during the six-month investigation did so at great personal risk to themselves.

Tom Mitchell, Sun Yu, Xinning Liu and Michael Peel begin the series by taking readers back to three weeks before Xi Jinping’s administration publicly acknowledges that a deadly new respiratory disease is spreading in one of the largest cities in China.

They are following the blame game as the virus has started to spread beyond Wuhan to other countries in Asia and reveal the confusion at Wuhan Central Hospital, where doctors have struggled to understand the news fatal illness.

Their report found that even though medics alerted city officials to patients with symptoms of new viral pneumonia, they were repeatedly told to wait before raising the issue higher in the chain of command. At that time, Wuhan was already at zero point. (FT)

Follow the series here and explore our interactive, which shows the global data crisis.

How has the pandemic been handled where you live? What was done right or wrong? Do you work in an industry that has been affected by the lockdowns? Share your experiences with us at [email protected]

Coronavirus digestion

In the news

China-US campaign for Trump on WeChat While most Chinese Americans voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, four years later the loudest voices on WeChat are pro-Trump. These groups tend not to be passionate about either side, but a vocal and mobilized pro-Trump faction has shaped the app’s discourse. (FT)

Armenia-Azerbaijan ceasefire appears to have failed The Armenian Defense Ministry released video footage of what it said were Azerbaijani troops “grossly” violating the ceasefire with artillery shelling four minutes after the truce took effect. (FT)

Azerbaijan says 13 people died and 50 were injured on Saturday when Armenian missile strikes hit residential areas in Ganja, the country’s second largest city © Umit Bektas / Reuters

Iran hails ‘memorable day’ A UN arms embargo on the country expired on Sunday, in a blow to the Trump administration, which failed in its attempts to extend it. The lifting of the embargo, which is part of the nuclear deal Tehran signed with world powers in 2015, is a symbolic victory for the Islamic Republic. (FT)

Double dip recession The European economy is sliding into a double-dip recession, with economists warning that the rise in coronavirus infections and new government restrictions on the movement of people are likely to cut short the region’s recent recovery. (FT)

The Eurozone Service Purchasing Managers Index (below 50 = contraction in activity) line graph showing the September PMI report showed signs of a 'double dip' in the economy

Hopes for a trade deal with the EU fade Michael Gove, UK Cabinet Office minister, is losing hope of securing a trade deal with the EU, as business groups have urged both sides to step back from the brink of no deal. (FT)

‘Unprecedented number’ of UK firms demand rate cuts Some 170,000 businesses are trying to cut their business rate bills as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on streets and offices is expected to last much longer than expected. (FT)

Dark image for American shopping malls The movie industry crisis is spreading to U.S. malls as movie theater closures hit restaurant attendance and other tenants, exacerbating financial woes at struggling malls. AMC, the world’s largest movie chain, warned this week that it could run out of cash by the end of the year. (FT)


The day ahead

Democrats set 48-hour deadline Nancy Pelosi said a stimulus package must be agreed within the next two days if it is to be passed before the election. The Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives will meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday as the two seek to resolve their differences over proposed relief measures which could amount to around $ 2 billion. (FT)

Nancy Pelosi: “ We don’t have an agreement on the language yet, but I’m hopeful ” © REUTERS

Economic data China’s gross domestic figures for the third quarter are released on Monday, as growth is expected to reach an annual rate of 5.5%, down from 3.2% in the previous quarter. Retail sales data for September, also released on Monday, will provide an update on consumer spending – a weak spot in the recovery. (FT)

Keep abreast of important business, economic and political events in the coming days with the FT Coming week. Click to subscribe here. And don’t miss our FT News Briefing audio show – a daily brief overview of the main world stories.

What else do we read

Ant Group’s ambitious plans to achieve global expansion The fintech arm of Chinese internet giant Alibaba has struggled to achieve its international ambitions, as investment falters in markets from the UK to India and Southeast Asia. The company is hoping its successful IPO this month can get it back on track. (FT)

Like many Chinese groups that have established themselves in a large domestic market without international competitors, Ant faces a challenge to replicate its success abroad © FT montage

Why Sweden has expressed its dissent on Covid-19 As in the 2015 migration crisis, Sweden diverged from its neighbors over the coronavirus. Despite its size, the country presents itself as a rational “moral superpower“: He hasn’t fought a war for over two centuries. Janan Ganesh observes that the Covid-19 cultural war did not materialize. (FT)

Joe Biden needs an economic team that will support workers The next president will need a very heterodox team to deal with a very complex problem: how to bridge the historic divide between the fortunes of American companies and workers, writes Rana Foroohar. (FT)

Mr Biden said if elected he would be a transitional president who serves as a bridge to a younger generation of leaders © Matt Kenyon

Deutsche Bank whistleblower goes bankrupt Four years ago, Eric Ben-Artzi received $ 8.25 million from the SEC for helping uncover fake accounting at Deutsche Bank. Now, after seven years of legal battles, the former risk manager is going bankrupt, but he has a new crusade, Tom Braithwaite writes. (FT)

Arsène Wenger on leadership and life after Arsenal For 22 years, the Frenchman lived and breathed the management of the football club. “Sometimes I think about what kind of human I could be, because being obsessed like that and sacrificing everything – I wasn’t quite normal,” he tells Simon Kuper. (FT)

Celebration in 1998. Arsenal won three league titles in Wenger’s first eight seasons at the club, including two league and cup doubles © Colorsport / Shutterstock

‘Flatten the traffic curve’ Covid-19 has made changes to working models that were inconceivable only a year ago, writes Anna Konig Jerlmyr. By deploying the same strategy used to fight the coronavirus, rush hour could be a thing of the past. (FT)

Good riddance of a lot of what I thought was normal life A colleague, returning to the office for the first time, said he found his desk still covered with newspapers from the days before the building was emptied in mid-March, plus a withered Pret sandwich from the same period. “It’s like Pompeii,” he told Pilita Clark.

Beware of the fierce devotion of K-pop fans The boy band followers were docile – the stars sang, they swooned. Now they bite, John Gapper writes, disrupting a Donald Trump election rally in July and forcing Samsung and Hyundai to distance themselves from South Korean BTS superstars in China. (FT)

Video of the day

QAnon is a game gone bad? Izabella Kaminska explains how QAnon came from the worlds of online gaming and Playboy magazine. It is not a conspiracy. It’s a way to hack reality. (FT)

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