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An investigation of transmission control measures during the first 50 days of the COVID-19 epidemic in China

Mar. 31, 2020. Science Magazine

Researchers from China (Beijing Normal University, Tsinghua University, Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, The University of Hong Kong, and Peking University), UK (University of Oxford, and University of Southampton), and USA (University of California Davis, Harvard University, Boston Children’s Hospital, Pennsylvania State University, National Institute of Health, and Princeton University) work together to conduct the investigation.

Responding to an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in December 2019, China banned travel to and from Wuhan city on 23 January and implemented a national emergency response. The research team studied the spread and control of Covid-19 using a unique data set including case reports, human movement and public health interventions.

  • The Wuhan shutdown was associated with the delayed arrival of Covid-19 in other cities by 2.91 (95%CI: 2.54-3.29) days.
  • Cities that implemented control measures preemptively reported fewer cases, on average, in the first week of their outbreaks (13.0;7.1-18.8) compared with cities that started control later (20.6; 14.5-26.8).
  • Suspending intra-city public transport, closing entertainment venues and banning public gatherings were associated with reductions in case incidence.
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