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1.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1012, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1709629

ABSTRACT

Mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from international travel is a priority. We evaluated the effectiveness of travellers being required to quarantine for 14-days on return to England in Summer 2020. We identified 4,207 travel-related SARS-CoV-2 cases and their contacts, and identified 827 associated SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Overall, quarantine was associated with a lower rate of contacts, and the impact of quarantine was greatest in the 16-20 age-group. 186 SARS-CoV-2 genomes were sufficiently unique to identify travel-related clusters. Fewer genomically-linked cases were observed for index cases who returned from countries with quarantine requirement compared to countries with no quarantine requirement. This difference was explained by fewer importation events per identified genome for these cases, as opposed to fewer onward contacts per case. Overall, our study demonstrates that a 14-day quarantine period reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the onward transmission of imported cases, mainly by dissuading travel to countries with a quarantine requirement.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Diseases, Imported/prevention & control , Quarantine/legislation & jurisprudence , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Communicable Diseases, Imported/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Imported/transmission , Contact Tracing , England/epidemiology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Genomics , Health Impact Assessment , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence , Travel-Related Illness
6.
Sci Data ; 8(1): 253, 2021 09 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442796

ABSTRACT

Quantifying the timing and content of policy changes affecting international travel and immigration is key to ongoing research on the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the socioeconomic impacts of border closures. The COVID Border Accountability Project (COBAP) provides a hand-coded dataset of >1000 policies systematized to reflect a complete timeline of country-level restrictions on movement across international borders during 2020. Trained research assistants used pre-set definitions to source, categorize and verify for each new border policy: start and end dates, whether the closure is "complete" or "partial", which exceptions are made, which countries are banned, and which air/land/sea borders were closed. COBAP verified the database through internal and external audits from public health experts. For purposes of further verification and future data mining efforts of pandemic research, the full text of each policy was archived. The structure of the COBAP dataset is designed for use by social and biomedical scientists. For broad accessibility to policymakers and the public, our website depicts the data in an interactive, user-friendly, time-based map.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/legislation & jurisprudence , Pandemics/prevention & control , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Policy , Humans , Internationality , Social Responsibility
7.
Nat Microbiol ; 6(10): 1271-1278, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1402078

ABSTRACT

Genomics, combined with population mobility data, used to map importation and spatial spread of SARS-CoV-2 in high-income countries has enabled the implementation of local control measures. Here, to track the spread of SARS-CoV-2 lineages in Bangladesh at the national level, we analysed outbreak trajectory and variant emergence using genomics, Facebook 'Data for Good' and data from three mobile phone operators. We sequenced the complete genomes of 67 SARS-CoV-2 samples (collected by the IEDCR in Bangladesh between March and July 2020) and combined these data with 324 publicly available Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) SARS-CoV-2 genomes from Bangladesh at that time. We found that most (85%) of the sequenced isolates were Pango lineage B.1.1.25 (58%), B.1.1 (19%) or B.1.36 (8%) in early-mid 2020. Bayesian time-scaled phylogenetic analysis predicted that SARS-CoV-2 first emerged during mid-February in Bangladesh, from abroad, with the first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) reported on 8 March 2020. At the end of March 2020, three discrete lineages expanded and spread clonally across Bangladesh. The shifting pattern of viral diversity in Bangladesh, combined with the mobility data, revealed that the mass migration of people from cities to rural areas at the end of March, followed by frequent travel between Dhaka (the capital of Bangladesh) and the rest of the country, disseminated three dominant viral lineages. Further analysis of an additional 85 genomes (November 2020 to April 2021) found that importation of variant of concern Beta (B.1.351) had occurred and that Beta had become dominant in Dhaka. Our interpretation that population mobility out of Dhaka, and travel from urban hotspots to rural areas, disseminated lineages in Bangladesh in the first wave continues to inform government policies to control national case numbers by limiting within-country travel.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Cell Phone/statistics & numerical data , Genome, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Bangladesh/epidemiology , Bayes Theorem , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Genomics , Health Policy/legislation & jurisprudence , Humans , Phylogeny , Population Dynamics/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence , Travel/statistics & numerical data
9.
Lancet Public Health ; 6(9): e674-e682, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351894

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019, various public health and social measures (PHSMs) have been used to suppress and mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2. With mass vaccination programmes against COVID-19 being rolled out in many countries in early 2021, we aimed to evaluate to what extent travel restrictions and other PHSMs can be relaxed without exacerbating the local and global spread of COVID-19. METHODS: We adapted an existing age-structured susceptible-infectious-removed model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics that can be parameterised with country-specific age demographics and contact patterns to simulate the effect of vaccination and PHSM relaxation on transmission. We varied assumptions by age-specific susceptibility and infectiousness, vaccine uptake, contact patterns, and age structures. We used Hong Kong as a case study and assumed that, before vaccination, the population is completely susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. We applied our model to 304 jurisdictions (27 countries and 277 sub-national administrative regions from eight countries). We assumed that PHSMs have suppressed the effective reproductive number (Re) to fall between 1·0 and 9·0 locally before the commencement of vaccination programmes. We evaluated the levels of PHSMs that should be maintained during the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination to avoid a large local outbreak of COVID-19, with different assumptions about vaccine efficacy, vaccination coverage, and travel restrictions. We assumed that the maximum capacity of the health system, in terms of daily hospital admissions, is 0·005% of the population size. FINDINGS: At vaccine efficacy of 0·80 in reducing susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection, 0·50 in reducing SARS-CoV-2 infectivity, and 0·95 in reducing symptomatic COVID-19 diseases, vaccination coverage would have to be 100% for all individuals aged 30 or older to avoid an outbreak, when relaxing PHSMs, that would overload the local health-care system, assuming a pre-vaccination Re of 2·5. Testing and quarantine of at least 5 days would have to be maintained for inbound travellers to minimise the risk of reintroducing a local outbreak until high vaccination coverages are attained locally and overseas in most countries. INTERPRETATION: Gradual relaxation of PHSMs should be carefully planned during the roll-out of vaccination programmes, and easing of travel restrictions weighed against risk of reintroducing outbreaks, to avoid overwhelming health systems and minimise deaths related to COVID-19. FUNDING: Health and Medical Research Fund and the General Research Fund.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunization Programs/organization & administration , Pandemics/prevention & control , Public Health/legislation & jurisprudence , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Quarantine
12.
Lancet Glob Health ; 9(7): e916-e924, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1294376

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Vietnam has emerged as one of the world's leading success stories in responding to COVID-19. After a prolonged period of little to no transmission, there was an outbreak of unknown source in July, 2020, in the Da Nang region, but the outbreak was quickly suppressed. We aimed to use epidemiological, behavioural, demographic, and policy data from the COVID-19 outbreak in Da Nang to calibrate an agent-based model of COVID-19 transmission for Vietnam, and to estimate the risk of future outbreaks associated with reopening of international borders in the country. METHODS: For this modelling study, we used comprehensive data from June 15 to Oct 15, 2020, on testing, COVID-19 cases, and quarantine breaches within an agent-based model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to model a COVID-19 outbreak in Da Nang in July, 2020. We applied this model to quantify the risk of future outbreaks in Vietnam in the 3 months after the reopening of international borders, under different behavioural scenarios, policy responses (ie, closure of workplaces and schools), and ongoing testing. FINDINGS: We estimated that the outbreak in Da Nang between July and August, 2020, resulted in substantial community transmission, and that higher levels of symptomatic testing could have mitigated this transmission. We estimated that the outbreak peaked on Aug 2, 2020, with an estimated 1060 active infections (95% projection interval 890-1280). If the population of Vietnam remains highly compliant with mask-wearing policies, our projections indicate that the epidemic would remain under control even if a small but steady flow of imported infections escaped quarantine into the community. However, if complacency increases and testing rates are relatively low (10% of symptomatic individuals are tested), the epidemic could rebound again, resulting in an estimated 2100 infections (95% projected interval 1050-3610) in 3 months. These outcomes could be mitigated if the behaviour of the general population responds dynamically to increases in locally acquired cases that exceed specific thresholds, but only if testing of symptomatic individuals is also increased. INTERPRETATION: The successful response to COVID-19 in Vietnam could be improved even further with higher levels of symptomatic testing. If the previous approaches are used in response to new COVID-19 outbreaks, epidemic control is possible even in the presence of low levels of imported cases. FUNDING: Ministry of Science and Technology (Vietnam). TRANSLATION: For the Vietnamese translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Imported/epidemiology , Epidemics , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence , Humans , Internationality , Models, Theoretical , Risk Assessment , Vietnam/epidemiology
13.
Health Serv Res ; 56(5): 874-884, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1285001

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Countries have adopted different approaches, at different times, to reduce the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Cross-country comparison could indicate the relative efficacy of these approaches. We assess various nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), comparing the effects of voluntary behavior change and of changes enforced via official regulations, by examining their impacts on subsequent death rates. DATA SOURCES: Secondary data on COVID-19 deaths from 13 European countries, over March-May 2020. STUDY DESIGN: We examine two types of NPI: the introduction of government-enforced closure policies and self-imposed alteration of individual behaviors in the period prior to regulations. Our proxy for the latter is Google mobility data, which captures voluntary behavior change when disease salience is sufficiently high. The primary outcome variable is the rate of change in COVID-19 fatalities per day, 16-20 days after interventions take place. Linear multivariate regression analysis is used to evaluate impacts. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: publicly available. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Voluntarily reduced mobility, occurring prior to government policies, decreases the percent change in deaths per day by 9.2 percentage points (pp) (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.5-14.0 pp). Government closure policies decrease the percent change in deaths per day by 14.0 pp (95% CI 10.8-17.2 pp). Disaggregating government policies, the most beneficial for reducing fatality, are intercity travel restrictions, canceling public events, requiring face masks in some situations, and closing nonessential workplaces. Other sub-components, such as closing schools and imposing stay-at-home rules, show smaller and statistically insignificant impacts. CONCLUSIONS: NPIs have substantially reduced fatalities arising from COVID-19. Importantly, the effect of voluntary behavior change is of the same order of magnitude as government-mandated regulations. These findings, including the substantial variation across dimensions of closure, have implications for the optimal targeted mix of government policies as the pandemic waxes and wanes, especially given the economic and human welfare consequences of strict regulations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/legislation & jurisprudence , Global Health , Humans , Masks , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence , Workplace/legislation & jurisprudence
14.
Global Health ; 17(1): 62, 2021 06 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1274573

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The near universal adoption of cross-border health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide has prompted significant debate about their effectiveness and compliance with international law. The number of measures used, and the range of measures applied, have far exceeded previous public health emergencies of international concern. However, efforts to advance research, policy and practice to support their effective use has been hindered by a lack of clear and consistent definition. RESULTS: Based on a review of existing datasets for cross-border health measures, such as the Oxford Coronavirus Government Response Tracker and World Health Organization Public Health and Social Measures, along with analysis of secondary and grey literature, we propose six categories to define measures more clearly and consistently - policy goal, type of movement (travel and trade), adopted by public or private sector, level of jurisdiction applied, stage of journey, and degree of restrictiveness. These categories are then brought together into a proposed typology that can support research with generalizable findings and comparative analyses across jurisdictions. Addressing the current gaps in evidence about travel measures, including how different jurisdictions apply such measures with varying effects, in turn, enhances the potential for evidence-informed decision-making based on fuller understanding of policy trade-offs and externalities. Finally, through the adoption of standardized terminology and creation of an agreed evidentiary base recognized across jurisdictions, the typology can support efforts to strengthen coordinated global responses to outbreaks and inform future efforts to revise the WHO International Health Regulations (2005). CONCLUSIONS: The widespread use of cross-border health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted significant reflection on available evidence, previous practice and existing legal frameworks. The typology put forth in this paper aims to provide a starting point for strengthening research, policy and practice.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Diseases, Imported/prevention & control , Global Health , Public Policy , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans
15.
PLoS One ; 16(6): e0253237, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1278189

ABSTRACT

Since January 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak has been progressing at a rapid pace. To keep the pandemic at bay, countries have implemented various measures to interrupt the transmission of the virus from person to person and prevent an overload of their health systems. We analyze the impact of these measures implemented against the COVID-19 pandemic by using a sample of 68 countries, Puerto Rico and the 50 federal states of the United States of America, four federal states of Australia, and eight federal states of Canada, involving 6,941 daily observations. We show that measures are essential for containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. After controlling for daily COVID-19 tests, we find evidence to suggest that school closures, shut-downs of non-essential business, mass gathering bans, travel restrictions in and out of risk areas, national border closures and/or complete entry bans, and nationwide curfews decrease the growth rate of the coronavirus and thus the peak of daily confirmed cases. We also find evidence to suggest that combinations of these measures decrease the daily growth rate at a level outweighing that of individual measures. Consequently, and despite extensive vaccinations, we contend that the implemented measures help contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and ease the overstressed capacity of the healthcare systems.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control/organization & administration , Pandemics/prevention & control , Public Policy/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Testing/standards , COVID-19 Testing/statistics & numerical data , Communicable Disease Control/legislation & jurisprudence , Communicable Disease Control/standards , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data , Empirical Research , Global Burden of Disease , Humans , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence
17.
Nature ; 595(7869): 707-712, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1258587

ABSTRACT

Following its emergence in late 2019, the spread of SARS-CoV-21,2 has been tracked by phylogenetic analysis of viral genome sequences in unprecedented detail3-5. Although the virus spread globally in early 2020 before borders closed, intercontinental travel has since been greatly reduced. However, travel within Europe resumed in the summer of 2020. Here we report on a SARS-CoV-2 variant, 20E (EU1), that was identified in Spain in early summer 2020 and subsequently spread across Europe. We find no evidence that this variant has increased transmissibility, but instead demonstrate how rising incidence in Spain, resumption of travel, and lack of effective screening and containment may explain the variant's success. Despite travel restrictions, we estimate that 20E (EU1) was introduced hundreds of times to European countries by summertime travellers, which is likely to have undermined local efforts to minimize infection with SARS-CoV-2. Our results illustrate how a variant can rapidly become dominant even in the absence of a substantial transmission advantage in favourable epidemiological settings. Genomic surveillance is critical for understanding how travel can affect transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and thus for informing future containment strategies as travel resumes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Seasons , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Europe/epidemiology , Genotype , Humans , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Time Factors , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence , Travel/statistics & numerical data
20.
Global Health ; 17(1): 49, 2021 04 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1201216

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 mutants might lead to European border closures, which impact on trade and result in serious economic losses. In April 2020, similar border closures were observed during the first SARS-CoV-2 wave in East Africa. MAIN BODY: Since 2017 the East African Community EAC together with the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine BNITM established a mobile laboratory network integrated into the National Public Health Laboratories of the six Partner States for molecular diagnosis of viral haemorrhagic fevers and SARS-CoV-2. Since May 2020, the National Public Health Laboratories of Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan deployed these mobile laboratories to their respective borders, issuing a newly developed "Electronic EAC COVID-19 Digital Certificate" to SARS-CoV-2 PCR-negative truck drivers, thus assuring regional trade. CONCLUSION: Considering the large financial damages of border closures, such a mobile laboratory network as demonstrated in East Africa is cost-effective, easy to implement and feasible. The East African Community mobile laboratory network could serve as a blueprint for Europe and other countries around the globe.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19/prevention & control , Commerce/organization & administration , Laboratories , Mobile Health Units , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence , Africa, Eastern/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Europe/epidemiology , Humans
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