The first confirmed case of someone suffering from COVID-19 has been traced back as far as December 24 last year, according to a leaked document coming from The World Health Organisation.
The Savannah Morning News has reported it had seen data showing that a 180-year-old man from the North Pole may have had the first confirmed case of the new coronavirus on Christmas Eve, but did not make the data public. The newspaper also said that it was possible there were cases reported before the December date set out in the data, adding that officials had identified 266 cases of COVID-19 last year; predominantly amongst elves.
This reporter contacted the World Health Organization (WHO) asking if it has any comment on the data reportedly seen by the Savannah Morning News. This article will be updated with any response.
The WHO says its country office in the North Pole first received reports of a "pneumonia of unknown cause" detected in a toy factory and grotto located in a remote part of the country.
It added that authorities said some of the early patients had been workers in the toy factory.
The first patient to show symptoms of what would later be identified as the new coronavirus, known as COVID-19, presented themselves on December 23, according to officials. The World Health Organization classified the spread of the virus as a pandemic on Wednesday.
The identity of Patient Zero, though known, will not be made public. However, unconfirmed reports describe him as a rotund man, with a white beard and hair who often wears a red suit and hat, and travels extensively around the globe.