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Res Synth Methods ; 2022 Jun 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1888762


Public health and social measures (PHSM) have been central to the COVID-19 response. Consequently, there has been much pressure on decision-makers to make evidence-informed decisions and on researchers to synthesize the evidence regarding these measures. This article describes our experiences, responses and lessons learnt regarding key challenges when planning and conducting rapid reviews of PHSM during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stakeholder consultations and scoping reviews to obtain an overview of the evidence inform the scope of reviews that are policy-relevant and feasible. Multiple complementary reviews serve to examine the benefits and harms of PHSM across different populations and contexts. Conceiving reviews of effectiveness as adaptable living reviews helps to respond to evolving evidence needs and an expanding evidence base. An appropriately skilled review team and good planning, coordination and communication ensures smooth and rigorous processes and efficient use of resources. Scientific rigor, the practical implications of PHSM-related complexity and likely time savings should be carefully weighed in deciding on methodological shortcuts. Making the best possible use of modeling studies represents a particular challenge, and methods should be carefully chosen, piloted and implemented. Our experience raises questions regarding the nature of rapid reviews and regarding how different types of evidence should be considered in making decisions about PHSM during a global pandemic. We highlight the need for readily available protocols for conducting studies on the effectiveness, unintended consequences and implementation of PHSM in a timely manner, as well as the need for rapid review standards tailored to "rapid" versus "emergency" mode reviewing.

Med Educ ; 56(5): 583-584, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1807213
J Travel Med ; 28(7)2021 10 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1348060


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.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Quality of Life , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2