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1.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev ; 1: CD015029, 2022 01 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704704

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In response to the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), governments have implemented a variety of measures to control the spread of the virus and the associated disease. Among these, have been measures to control the pandemic in primary and secondary school settings. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness of measures implemented in the school setting to safely reopen schools, or keep schools open, or both, during the COVID-19 pandemic, with particular focus on the different types of measures implemented in school settings and the outcomes used to measure their impacts on transmission-related outcomes, healthcare utilisation outcomes, other health outcomes as well as societal, economic, and ecological outcomes.  SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, and the Educational Resources Information Center, as well as COVID-19-specific databases, including the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register and the WHO COVID-19 Global literature on coronavirus disease (indexing preprints) on 9 December 2020. We conducted backward-citation searches with existing reviews. SELECTION CRITERIA: We considered experimental (i.e. randomised controlled trials; RCTs), quasi-experimental, observational and modelling studies assessing the effects of measures implemented in the school setting to safely reopen schools, or keep schools open, or both, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Outcome categories were (i) transmission-related outcomes (e.g. number or proportion of cases); (ii) healthcare utilisation outcomes (e.g. number or proportion of hospitalisations); (iii) other health outcomes (e.g. physical, social and mental health); and (iv) societal, economic and ecological outcomes (e.g. costs, human resources and education). We considered studies that included any population at risk of becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 and/or developing COVID-19 disease including students, teachers, other school staff, or members of the wider community.  DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently screened titles, abstracts and full texts. One review author extracted data and critically appraised each study. One additional review author validated the extracted data. To critically appraise included studies, we used the ROBINS-I tool for quasi-experimental and observational studies, the QUADAS-2 tool for observational screening studies, and a bespoke tool for modelling studies. We synthesised findings narratively. Three review authors made an initial assessment of the certainty of evidence with GRADE, and several review authors discussed and agreed on the ratings. MAIN RESULTS: We included 38 unique studies in the analysis, comprising 33 modelling studies, three observational studies, one quasi-experimental and one experimental study with modelling components. Measures fell into four broad categories: (i) measures reducing the opportunity for contacts; (ii) measures making contacts safer; (iii) surveillance and response measures; and (iv) multicomponent measures. As comparators, we encountered the operation of schools with no measures in place, less intense measures in place, single versus multicomponent measures in place, or closure of schools. Across all intervention categories and all study designs, very low- to low-certainty evidence ratings limit our confidence in the findings. Concerns with the quality of modelling studies related to potentially inappropriate assumptions about the model structure and input parameters, and an inadequate assessment of model uncertainty. Concerns with risk of bias in observational studies related to deviations from intended interventions or missing data. Across all categories, few studies reported on implementation or described how measures were implemented. Where we describe effects as 'positive', the direction of the point estimate of the effect favours the intervention(s); 'negative' effects do not favour the intervention.  We found 23 modelling studies assessing measures reducing the opportunity for contacts (i.e. alternating attendance, reduced class size). Most of these studies assessed transmission and healthcare utilisation outcomes, and all of these studies showed a reduction in transmission (e.g. a reduction in the number or proportion of cases, reproduction number) and healthcare utilisation (i.e. fewer hospitalisations) and mixed or negative effects on societal, economic and ecological outcomes (i.e. fewer number of days spent in school). We identified 11 modelling studies and two observational studies assessing measures making contacts safer (i.e. mask wearing, cleaning, handwashing, ventilation). Five studies assessed the impact of combined measures to make contacts safer. They assessed transmission-related, healthcare utilisation, other health, and societal, economic and ecological outcomes. Most of these studies showed a reduction in transmission, and a reduction in hospitalisations; however, studies showed mixed or negative effects on societal, economic and ecological outcomes (i.e. fewer number of days spent in school). We identified 13 modelling studies and one observational study assessing surveillance and response measures, including testing and isolation, and symptomatic screening and isolation. Twelve studies focused on mass testing and isolation measures, while two looked specifically at symptom-based screening and isolation. Outcomes included transmission, healthcare utilisation, other health, and societal, economic and ecological outcomes. Most of these studies showed effects in favour of the intervention in terms of reductions in transmission and hospitalisations, however some showed mixed or negative effects on societal, economic and ecological outcomes (e.g. fewer number of days spent in school). We found three studies that reported outcomes relating to multicomponent measures, where it was not possible to disaggregate the effects of each individual intervention, including one modelling, one observational and one quasi-experimental study. These studies employed interventions, such as physical distancing, modification of school activities, testing, and exemption of high-risk students, using measures such as hand hygiene and mask wearing. Most of these studies showed a reduction in transmission, however some showed mixed or no effects.   As the majority of studies included in the review were modelling studies, there was a lack of empirical, real-world data, which meant that there were very little data on the actual implementation of interventions. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Our review suggests that a broad range of measures implemented in the school setting can have positive impacts on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and on healthcare utilisation outcomes related to COVID-19. The certainty of the evidence for most intervention-outcome combinations is very low, and the true effects of these measures are likely to be substantially different from those reported here. Measures implemented in the school setting may limit the number or proportion of cases and deaths, and may delay the progression of the pandemic. However, they may also lead to negative unintended consequences, such as fewer days spent in school (beyond those intended by the intervention). Further, most studies assessed the effects of a combination of interventions, which could not be disentangled to estimate their specific effects. Studies assessing measures to reduce contacts and to make contacts safer consistently predicted positive effects on transmission and healthcare utilisation, but may reduce the number of days students spent at school. Studies assessing surveillance and response measures predicted reductions in hospitalisations and school days missed due to infection or quarantine, however, there was mixed evidence on resources needed for surveillance. Evidence on multicomponent measures was mixed, mostly due to comparators. The magnitude of effects depends on multiple factors. New studies published since the original search date might heavily influence the overall conclusions and interpretation of findings for this review.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Observational Studies as Topic , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools
2.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev ; 12: CD013812, 2020 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1557400

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In response to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the impact of COVID-19, national and subnational governments implemented a variety of measures in order to control the spread of the virus and the associated disease. While these measures were imposed with the intention of controlling the pandemic, they were also associated with severe psychosocial, societal, and economic implications on a societal level. One setting affected heavily by these measures is the school setting. By mid-April 2020, 192 countries had closed schools, affecting more than 90% of the world's student population. In consideration of the adverse consequences of school closures, many countries around the world reopened their schools in the months after the initial closures. To safely reopen schools and keep them open, governments implemented a broad range of measures. The evidence with regards to these measures, however, is heterogeneous, with a multitude of study designs, populations, settings, interventions and outcomes being assessed. To make sense of this heterogeneity, we conducted a rapid scoping review (8 October to 5 November 2020). This rapid scoping review is intended to serve as a precursor to a systematic review of effectiveness, which will inform guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). This review is reported in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) checklist and was registered with the Open Science Framework. OBJECTIVES: To identify and comprehensively map the evidence assessing the impacts of measures implemented in the school setting to reopen schools, or keep schools open, or both, during the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, with particular focus on the types of measures implemented in different school settings, the outcomes used to measure their impacts and the study types used to assess these. SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, MEDLINE, Embase, the CDC COVID-19 Research Articles Downloadable Database for preprints, and the WHO COVID-19 Global literature on coronavirus disease on 8 October 2020. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included studies that assessed the impact of measures implemented in the school setting. Eligible populations were populations at risk of becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2, or developing COVID-19 disease, or both, and included people both directly and indirectly impacted by interventions, including students, teachers, other school staff, and contacts of these groups, as well as the broader community. We considered all types of empirical studies, which quantitatively assessed impact including epidemiological studies, modelling studies, mixed-methods studies, and diagnostic studies that assessed the impact of relevant interventions beyond diagnostic test accuracy. Broad outcome categories of interest included infectious disease transmission-related outcomes, other harmful or beneficial health-related outcomes, and societal, economic, and ecological implications. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We extracted data from included studies in a standardized manner, and mapped them to categories within our a priori logic model where possible. Where not possible, we inductively developed new categories. In line with standard expectations for scoping reviews, the review provides an overview of the existing evidence regardless of methodological quality or risk of bias, and was not designed to synthesize effectiveness data, assess risk of bias, or characterize strength of evidence (GRADE). MAIN RESULTS: We included 42 studies that assessed measures implemented in the school setting. The majority of studies used mathematical modelling designs (n = 31), while nine studies used observational designs, and two studies used experimental or quasi-experimental designs. Studies conducted in real-world contexts or using real data focused on the WHO European region (EUR; n = 20), the WHO region of the Americas (AMR; n = 13), the West Pacific region (WPR; n = 6), and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR; n = 1). One study conducted a global assessment and one did not report on data from, or that were applicable to, a specific country. Three broad intervention categories emerged from the included studies: organizational measures to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (n = 36), structural/environmental measures to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (n = 11), and surveillance and response measures to detect SARS-CoV-2 infections (n = 19). Most studies assessed SARS-CoV-2 transmission-related outcomes (n = 29), while others assessed healthcare utilization (n = 8), other health outcomes (n = 3), and societal, economic, and ecological outcomes (n = 5). Studies assessed both harmful and beneficial outcomes across all outcome categories. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: We identified a heterogeneous and complex evidence base of measures implemented in the school setting. This review is an important first step in understanding the available evidence and will inform the development of rapid reviews on this topic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools/organization & administration , Administrative Personnel , Humans , School Teachers , Students
3.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev ; 10: CD013717, 2020 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1557155

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In late 2019, first cases of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, were reported in Wuhan, China. Subsequently COVID-19 spread rapidly around the world. To contain the ensuing pandemic, numerous countries have implemented control measures related to international travel, including border closures, partial travel restrictions, entry or exit screening, and quarantine of travellers. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness of travel-related control measures during the COVID-19 pandemic on infectious disease and screening-related outcomes. SEARCH METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, Embase and COVID-19-specific databases, including the WHO Global Database on COVID-19 Research, the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, and the CDC COVID-19 Research Database on 26 June 2020. We also conducted backward-citation searches with existing reviews. SELECTION CRITERIA: We considered experimental, quasi-experimental, observational and modelling studies assessing the effects of travel-related control measures affecting human travel across national borders during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also included studies concerned with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) as indirect evidence. Primary outcomes were cases avoided, cases detected and a shift in epidemic development due to the measures. Secondary outcomes were other infectious disease transmission outcomes, healthcare utilisation, resource requirements and adverse effects if identified in studies assessing at least one primary outcome. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: One review author screened titles and abstracts; all excluded abstracts were screened in duplicate. Two review authors independently screened full texts. One review author extracted data, assessed risk of bias and appraised study quality. At least one additional review author checked for correctness of all data reported in the 'Risk of bias' assessment, quality appraisal and data synthesis. For assessing the risk of bias and quality of included studies, we used the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS-2) tool for observational studies concerned with screening, ROBINS-I for observational ecological studies and a bespoke tool for modelling studies. We synthesised findings narratively. One review author assessed certainty of evidence with GRADE, and the review author team discussed ratings. MAIN RESULTS: We included 40 records reporting on 36 unique studies. We found 17 modelling studies, 7 observational screening studies and one observational ecological study on COVID-19, four modelling and six observational studies on SARS, and one modelling study on SARS and MERS, covering a variety of settings and epidemic stages. Most studies compared travel-related control measures against a counterfactual scenario in which the intervention measure was not implemented. However, some modelling studies described additional comparator scenarios, such as different levels of travel restrictions, or a combination of measures. There were concerns with the quality of many modelling studies and the risk of bias of observational studies. Many modelling studies used potentially inappropriate assumptions about the structure and input parameters of models, and failed to adequately assess uncertainty. Concerns with observational screening studies commonly related to the reference test and the flow of the screening process. Studies on COVID-19 Travel restrictions reducing cross-border travel Eleven studies employed models to simulate a reduction in travel volume; one observational ecological study assessed travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Very low-certainty evidence from modelling studies suggests that when implemented at the beginning of the outbreak, cross-border travel restrictions may lead to a reduction in the number of new cases of between 26% to 90% (4 studies), the number of deaths (1 study), the time to outbreak of between 2 and 26 days (2 studies), the risk of outbreak of between 1% to 37% (2 studies), and the effective reproduction number (1 modelling and 1 observational ecological study). Low-certainty evidence from modelling studies suggests a reduction in the number of imported or exported cases of between 70% to 81% (5 studies), and in the growth acceleration of epidemic progression (1 study). Screening at borders with or without quarantine Evidence from three modelling studies of entry and exit symptom screening without quarantine suggests delays in the time to outbreak of between 1 to 183 days (very low-certainty evidence) and a detection rate of infected travellers of between 10% to 53% (low-certainty evidence). Six observational studies of entry and exit screening were conducted in specific settings such as evacuation flights and cruise ship outbreaks. Screening approaches varied but followed a similar structure, involving symptom screening of all individuals at departure or upon arrival, followed by quarantine, and different procedures for observation and PCR testing over a period of at least 14 days. The proportion of cases detected ranged from 0% to 91% (depending on the screening approach), and the positive predictive value ranged from 0% to 100% (very low-certainty evidence). The outcomes, however, should be interpreted in relation to both the screening approach used and the prevalence of infection among the travellers screened; for example, symptom-based screening alone generally performed worse than a combination of symptom-based and PCR screening with subsequent observation during quarantine. Quarantine of travellers Evidence from one modelling study simulating a 14-day quarantine suggests a reduction in the number of cases seeded by imported cases; larger reductions were seen with increasing levels of quarantine compliance ranging from 277 to 19 cases with rates of compliance modelled between 70% to 100% (very low-certainty evidence). AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: With much of the evidence deriving from modelling studies, notably for travel restrictions reducing cross-border travel and quarantine of travellers, there is a lack of 'real-life' evidence for many of these measures. The certainty of the evidence for most travel-related control measures is very low and the true effects may be substantially different from those reported here. Nevertheless, some travel-related control measures during the COVID-19 pandemic may have a positive impact on infectious disease outcomes. Broadly, travel restrictions may limit the spread of disease across national borders. Entry and exit symptom screening measures on their own are not likely to be effective in detecting a meaningful proportion of cases to prevent seeding new cases within the protected region; combined with subsequent quarantine, observation and PCR testing, the effectiveness is likely to improve. There was insufficient evidence to draw firm conclusions about the effectiveness of travel-related quarantine on its own. Some of the included studies suggest that effects are likely to depend on factors such as the stage of the epidemic, the interconnectedness of countries, local measures undertaken to contain community transmission, and the extent of implementation and adherence.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel-Related Illness , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Imported/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Imported/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Observational Studies as Topic , Quarantine , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/epidemiology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/prevention & control
4.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev ; 9: CD015085, 2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1408722

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Starting in late 2019, COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, spread around the world. Long-term care facilities are at particularly high risk of outbreaks, and the burden of morbidity and mortality is very high among residents living in these facilities. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of non-pharmacological measures implemented in long-term care facilities to prevent or reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection among residents, staff, and visitors. SEARCH METHODS: On 22 January 2021, we searched the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, WHO COVID-19 Global literature on coronavirus disease, Web of Science, and CINAHL. We also conducted backward citation searches of existing reviews. SELECTION CRITERIA: We considered experimental, quasi-experimental, observational and modelling studies that assessed the effects of the measures implemented in long-term care facilities to protect residents and staff against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Primary outcomes were infections, hospitalisations and deaths due to COVID-19, contaminations of and outbreaks in long-term care facilities, and adverse health effects. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently screened titles, abstracts and full texts. One review author performed data extractions, risk of bias assessments and quality appraisals, and at least one other author checked their accuracy. Risk of bias and quality assessments were conducted using the ROBINS-I tool for cohort and interrupted-time-series studies, the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) checklist for case-control studies, and a bespoke tool for modelling studies. We synthesised findings narratively, focusing on the direction of effect. One review author assessed certainty of evidence with GRADE, with the author team critically discussing the ratings. MAIN RESULTS: We included 11 observational studies and 11 modelling studies in the analysis. All studies were conducted in high-income countries. Most studies compared outcomes in long-term care facilities that implemented the measures with predicted or observed control scenarios without the measure (but often with baseline infection control measures also in place). Several modelling studies assessed additional comparator scenarios, such as comparing higher with lower rates of testing. There were serious concerns regarding risk of bias in almost all observational studies and major or critical concerns regarding the quality of many modelling studies. Most observational studies did not adequately control for confounding. Many modelling studies used inappropriate assumptions about the structure and input parameters of the models, and failed to adequately assess uncertainty. Overall, we identified five intervention domains, each including a number of specific measures. Entry regulation measures (4 observational studies; 4 modelling studies) Self-confinement of staff with residents may reduce the number of infections, probability of facility contamination, and number of deaths. Quarantine for new admissions may reduce the number of infections. Testing of new admissions and intensified testing of residents and of staff after holidays may reduce the number of infections, but the evidence is very uncertain. The evidence is very uncertain regarding whether restricting admissions of new residents reduces the number of infections, but the measure may reduce the probability of facility contamination. Visiting restrictions may reduce the number of infections and deaths. Furthermore, it may increase the probability of facility contamination, but the evidence is very uncertain. It is very uncertain how visiting restrictions may adversely affect the mental health of residents. Contact-regulating and transmission-reducing measures (6 observational studies; 2 modelling studies) Barrier nursing may increase the number of infections and the probability of outbreaks, but the evidence is very uncertain. Multicomponent cleaning and environmental hygiene measures may reduce the number of infections, but the evidence is very uncertain. It is unclear how contact reduction measures affect the probability of outbreaks. These measures may reduce the number of infections, but the evidence is very uncertain. Personal hygiene measures may reduce the probability of outbreaks, but the evidence is very uncertain.  Mask and personal protective equipment usage may reduce the number of infections, the probability of outbreaks, and the number of deaths, but the evidence is very uncertain. Cohorting residents and staff may reduce the number of infections, although evidence is very uncertain. Multicomponent contact -regulating and transmission -reducing measures may reduce the probability of outbreaks, but the evidence is very uncertain. Surveillance measures (2 observational studies; 6 modelling studies) Routine testing of residents and staff independent of symptoms may reduce the number of infections. It may reduce the probability of outbreaks, but the evidence is very uncertain. Evidence from one observational study suggests that the measure may reduce, while the evidence from one modelling study suggests that it probably reduces hospitalisations. The measure may reduce the number of deaths among residents, but the evidence on deaths among staff is unclear.  Symptom-based surveillance testing may reduce the number of infections and the probability of outbreaks, but the evidence is very uncertain. Outbreak control measures (4 observational studies; 3 modelling studies) Separating infected and non-infected residents or staff caring for them may reduce the number of infections. The measure may reduce the probability of outbreaks and may reduce the number of deaths, but the evidence for the latter is very uncertain. Isolation of cases may reduce the number of infections and the probability of outbreaks, but the evidence is very uncertain. Multicomponent measures (2 observational studies; 1 modelling study) A combination of multiple infection-control measures, including various combinations of the above categories, may reduce the number of infections and may reduce the number of deaths, but the evidence for the latter is very uncertain. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: This review provides a comprehensive framework and synthesis of a range of non-pharmacological measures implemented in long-term care facilities. These may prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections and their consequences. However, the certainty of evidence is predominantly low to very low, due to the limited availability of evidence and the design and quality of available studies. Therefore, true effects may be substantially different from those reported here. Overall, more studies producing stronger evidence on the effects of non-pharmacological measures are needed, especially in low- and middle-income countries and on possible unintended consequences of these measures. Future research should explore the reasons behind the paucity of evidence to guide pandemic research priority setting in the future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Long-Term Care , Observational Studies as Topic , Pandemics , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2
5.
J Clin Epidemiol ; 141: 82-89, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1401588

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A living systematic review (LSR) is an emerging review type that makes use of continual updating. In the COVID-19 pandemic, we were confronted with a shifting epidemiological landscape, clinical uncertainties and evolving evidence. These unexpected challenges compelled us to amend standard LSR methodology. OBJECTIVE AND OUTLINE: Our primary objective is to discuss some challenges faced when conducting LSRs in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide methodological guidance for others doing similar work. Based on our experience and lessons learned from two Cochrane LSRs and challenges identified in several non-Cochrane LSRs, we highlight methodological considerations, particularly with regards to the study design, interventions and comparators, changes in outcome measure, and the search strategy. We discuss when to update, or rather when not to update the review, and the importance of transparency when reporting changes. LESSONS LEARNED AND CONCLUSION: We learned that a LSR is a very suitable review type for the pandemic context, even in the face of new methodological and clinical challenges. Our experience showed that the decision for updating a LSR depends not only on the evolving disease or emerging evidence, but also on the individual review question and the review teams' resources.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Research Design , Systematic Reviews as Topic
7.
J Travel Med ; 28(7)2021 10 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1348060

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: International travel measures to contain the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic represent a relatively intrusive form of non-pharmaceutical intervention. To inform decision-making on the (re)implementation, adaptation, relaxation or suspension of such measures, it is essential to not only assess their effectiveness but also their unintended effects. METHODS: This scoping review maps existing empirical studies on the unintended consequences, both predicted and unforeseen, and beneficial or harmful, of international travel measures. We searched multiple health, non-health and COVID-19-specific databases. The evidence was charted in a map in relation to the study design, intervention and outcome categories identified and discussed narratively. RESULTS: Twenty-three studies met our inclusion criteria-nine quasi-experimental, two observational, two mathematical modelling, six qualitative and four mixed-methods studies. Studies addressed different population groups across various countries worldwide. Seven studies provided information on unintended consequences of the closure of national borders, six looked at international travel restrictions and three investigated mandatory quarantine of international travellers. No studies looked at entry and/or exit screening at national borders exclusively, however six studies considered this intervention in combination with other international travel measures. In total, 11 studies assessed various combinations of the aforementioned interventions. The outcomes were mostly referred to by the authors as harmful. Fifteen studies identified a variety of economic consequences, six reported on aspects related to quality of life, well-being, and mental health and five on social consequences. One study each provided information on equity, equality, and the fair distribution of benefits and burdens, environmental consequences and health system consequences. CONCLUSION: This scoping review represents the first step towards a systematic assessment of the unintended benefits and harms of international travel measures during COVID-19. The key research gaps identified might be filled with targeted primary research, as well as the additional consideration of gray literature and non-empirical studies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Quality of Life , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2
8.
BMJ Open ; 11(4): e041619, 2021 04 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1175167

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To comprehensively map the existing evidence assessing the impact of travel-related control measures for containment of the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic. DESIGN: Rapid evidence map. DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, Embase and Web of Science, and COVID-19 specific databases offered by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the WHO. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: We included studies in human populations susceptible to SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19, SARS-CoV-1/severe acute respiratory syndrome, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus/Middle East respiratory syndrome or influenza. Interventions of interest were travel-related control measures affecting travel across national or subnational borders. Outcomes of interest included infectious disease, screening, other health, economic and social outcomes. We considered all empirical studies that quantitatively evaluate impact available in Armenian, English, French, German, Italian and Russian based on the team's language capacities. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: We extracted data from included studies in a standardised manner and mapped them to a priori and (one) post hoc defined categories. RESULTS: We included 122 studies assessing travel-related control measures. These studies were undertaken across the globe, most in the Western Pacific region (n=71). A large proportion of studies focused on COVID-19 (n=59), but a number of studies also examined SARS, MERS and influenza. We identified studies on border closures (n=3), entry/exit screening (n=31), travel-related quarantine (n=6), travel bans (n=8) and travel restrictions (n=25). Many addressed a bundle of travel-related control measures (n=49). Most studies assessed infectious disease (n=98) and/or screening-related (n=25) outcomes; we found only limited evidence on economic and social outcomes. Studies applied numerous methods, both inferential and descriptive in nature, ranging from simple observational methods to complex modelling techniques. CONCLUSIONS: We identified a heterogeneous and complex evidence base on travel-related control measures. While this map is not sufficient to assess the effectiveness of different measures, it outlines aspects regarding interventions and outcomes, as well as study methodology and reporting that could inform future research and evidence synthesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics , Travel , Geography, Medical , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control
9.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev ; 3: CD013717, 2021 03 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1148783

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In late 2019, the first cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were reported in Wuhan, China, followed by a worldwide spread. Numerous countries have implemented control measures related to international travel, including border closures, travel restrictions, screening at borders, and quarantine of travellers. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness of international travel-related control measures during the COVID-19 pandemic on infectious disease transmission and screening-related outcomes. SEARCH METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, Embase and COVID-19-specific databases, including the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register and the WHO Global Database on COVID-19 Research to 13 November 2020. SELECTION CRITERIA: We considered experimental, quasi-experimental, observational and modelling studies assessing the effects of travel-related control measures affecting human travel across international borders during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the original review, we also considered evidence on severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In this version we decided to focus on COVID-19 evidence only. Primary outcome categories were (i) cases avoided, (ii) cases detected, and (iii) a shift in epidemic development. Secondary outcomes were other infectious disease transmission outcomes, healthcare utilisation, resource requirements and adverse effects if identified in studies assessing at least one primary outcome. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently screened titles and abstracts and subsequently full texts. For studies included in the analysis, one review author extracted data and appraised the study. At least one additional review author checked for correctness of data. To assess the risk of bias and quality of included studies, we used the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS-2) tool for observational studies concerned with screening, and a bespoke tool for modelling studies. We synthesised findings narratively. One review author assessed the certainty of evidence with GRADE, and several review authors discussed these GRADE judgements. MAIN RESULTS: Overall, we included 62 unique studies in the analysis; 49 were modelling studies and 13 were observational studies. Studies covered a variety of settings and levels of community transmission. Most studies compared travel-related control measures against a counterfactual scenario in which the measure was not implemented. However, some modelling studies described additional comparator scenarios, such as different levels of stringency of the measures (including relaxation of restrictions), or a combination of measures. Concerns with the quality of modelling studies related to potentially inappropriate assumptions about the structure and input parameters, and an inadequate assessment of model uncertainty. Concerns with risk of bias in observational studies related to the selection of travellers and the reference test, and unclear reporting of certain methodological aspects. Below we outline the results for each intervention category by illustrating the findings from selected outcomes. Travel restrictions reducing or stopping cross-border travel (31 modelling studies) The studies assessed cases avoided and shift in epidemic development. We found very low-certainty evidence for a reduction in COVID-19 cases in the community (13 studies) and cases exported or imported (9 studies). Most studies reported positive effects, with effect sizes varying widely; only a few studies showed no effect. There was very low-certainty evidence that cross-border travel controls can slow the spread of COVID-19. Most studies predicted positive effects, however, results from individual studies varied from a delay of less than one day to a delay of 85 days; very few studies predicted no effect of the measure. Screening at borders (13 modelling studies; 13 observational studies) Screening measures covered symptom/exposure-based screening or test-based screening (commonly specifying polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing), or both, before departure or upon or within a few days of arrival. Studies assessed cases avoided, shift in epidemic development and cases detected. Studies generally predicted or observed some benefit from screening at borders, however these varied widely. For symptom/exposure-based screening, one modelling study reported that global implementation of screening measures would reduce the number of cases exported per day from another country by 82% (95% confidence interval (CI) 72% to 95%) (moderate-certainty evidence). Four modelling studies predicted delays in epidemic development, although there was wide variation in the results between the studies (very low-certainty evidence). Four modelling studies predicted that the proportion of cases detected would range from 1% to 53% (very low-certainty evidence). Nine observational studies observed the detected proportion to range from 0% to 100% (very low-certainty evidence), although all but one study observed this proportion to be less than 54%. For test-based screening, one modelling study provided very low-certainty evidence for the number of cases avoided. It reported that testing travellers reduced imported or exported cases as well as secondary cases. Five observational studies observed that the proportion of cases detected varied from 58% to 90% (very low-certainty evidence). Quarantine (12 modelling studies) The studies assessed cases avoided, shift in epidemic development and cases detected. All studies suggested some benefit of quarantine, however the magnitude of the effect ranged from small to large across the different outcomes (very low- to low-certainty evidence). Three modelling studies predicted that the reduction in the number of cases in the community ranged from 450 to over 64,000 fewer cases (very low-certainty evidence). The variation in effect was possibly related to the duration of quarantine and compliance. Quarantine and screening at borders (7 modelling studies; 4 observational studies) The studies assessed shift in epidemic development and cases detected. Most studies predicted positive effects for the combined measures with varying magnitudes (very low- to low-certainty evidence). Four observational studies observed that the proportion of cases detected for quarantine and screening at borders ranged from 68% to 92% (low-certainty evidence). The variation may depend on how the measures were combined, including the length of the quarantine period and days when the test was conducted in quarantine. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: With much of the evidence derived from modelling studies, notably for travel restrictions reducing or stopping cross-border travel and quarantine of travellers, there is a lack of 'real-world' evidence. The certainty of the evidence for most travel-related control measures and outcomes is very low and the true effects are likely to be substantially different from those reported here. Broadly, travel restrictions may limit the spread of disease across national borders. Symptom/exposure-based screening measures at borders on their own are likely not effective; PCR testing at borders as a screening measure likely detects more cases than symptom/exposure-based screening at borders, although if performed only upon arrival this will likely also miss a meaningful proportion of cases. Quarantine, based on a sufficiently long quarantine period and high compliance is likely to largely avoid further transmission from travellers. Combining quarantine with PCR testing at borders will likely improve effectiveness. Many studies suggest that effects depend on factors, such as levels of community transmission, travel volumes and duration, other public health measures in place, and the exact specification and timing of the measure. Future research should be better reported, employ a range of designs beyond modelling and assess potential benefits and harms of the travel-related control measures from a societal perspective.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel-Related Illness , Bias , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Imported/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Imported/prevention & control , Humans , Internationality , Models, Theoretical , Observational Studies as Topic , Quarantine
10.
BMJ Open ; 10(11): e040990, 2020 11 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024240

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in patients with viral respiratory infections on acute severe adverse outcomes, healthcare utilisation, quality of life and long-term survival. DESIGN: Rapid systematic review. PARTICIPANTS: Humans with viral respiratory infections, exposed to systemic NSAIDs. PRIMARY OUTCOMES: Acute severe adverse outcomes, healthcare utilisation, quality of life and long-term survival. RESULTS: We screened 10 999 titles and abstracts and 738 full texts, including 87 studies. No studies addressed COVID-19, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome; none examined inpatient healthcare utilisation, quality of life or long-term survival. Effects of NSAIDs on mortality and cardiovascular events in adults with viral respiratory infections are unclear (three observational studies; very low certainty). Children with empyema and gastrointestinal bleeding may be more likely to have taken NSAIDs than children without these conditions (two observational studies; very low certainty). In patients aged 3 years and older with acute respiratory infections, ibuprofen is associated with a higher rate of reconsultations with general practitioners than paracetamol (one randomised controlled trial (RCT); low certainty). The difference in death from all causes and hospitalisation for renal failure and anaphylaxis between children with fever receiving ibuprofen versus paracetamol is likely to be less than 1 per 10 000 (1 RCT; moderate/high certainty). Twenty-eight studies in adults and 42 studies in children report adverse event counts. Most report that no severe adverse events occurred. Due to methodological limitations of adverse event counts, this evidence should be interpreted with caution. CONCLUSIONS: It is unclear whether the use of NSAIDs increases the risk of severe adverse outcomes in patients with viral respiratory infections. This absence of evidence should not be interpreted as evidence for the absence of such risk. This is a rapid review with a number of limitations. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42020176056.


Subject(s)
Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal/adverse effects , Respiratory Tract Infections/drug therapy , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , Humans , Quality of Life , Respiratory Tract Infections/mortality , Survival Analysis
11.
Atmos Environ (1994) ; 246: 118089, 2021 Feb 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-938763

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bavarian State government announced several COVID-19 mitigation measures beginning on March 16, 2020, which likely led to a reduction in traffic and a subsequent improvement in air quality. In this study, we evaluated the short-term effect of COVID-19 mitigation measures on NO2 concentrations in Munich, Germany. METHODS: We applied two quasi-experimental approaches, a controlled interrupted time-series (c-ITS) approach and a synthetic control (SC) approach. Each approach compared changes occurring in 2020 to changes occurring in 2014-2019, and accounted for weather-related and other potential confounders. We hypothesized that the largest reductions in NO2 concentrations would be observed at traffic sites, with smaller reductions at urban background sites, and even small reductions, if any, at background sites. All hypotheses, as well as the main and additional analyses were defined a priori. We also conducted post-hoc analyses to ensure that observed effects were not due to factors other than the intervention. RESULTS: Main analyses largely supported our hypotheses. Specifically, at the two traffic sites, using the c-ITS approach we observed reductions of 9.34 µg/m3 (95% confidence interval: -23.58; 4.90) and 10.02 µg/m3 (-19.25; -0.79). Using the SC approach we observed reductions of 15.65 µg/m3 (-27.58; -4.09) and 15.1 µg/m3 (-24.82; -9.83) at these same sites. We observed effects ranging from smaller in magnitude to no effect at urban background and background sites. Additional analyses showed that the effect was largest in the first two weeks following introduction of measures, and that a 3-day lagged intervention time also showed a larger effect. Post-hoc analyses suggested that at least some of the observed effects may have been attributable to changes in air quality occurring before the intervention, as well as unusually high concentrations in January 2020. CONCLUSION: We applied two quasi-experimental approaches in assessing the impact of the COVID-19 mitigation measures on NO2 concentrations in Munich. Taking the 2020 pre-intervention average concentrations as a reference, we observed reductions in NO2 concentrations of approximately 15-25% and 24-36% at traffic sites, suggesting that reducing traffic may be an effective measure to reduce NO2 concentrations in heavily trafficked areas by margins which could translate to public health benefits.

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