Delaying the COVID‐19 epidemic in Australia: evaluating the effectiveness of international travel bans

Adekunle, Adeshina, Meehan, Michael, Rojas-Alvarez, Diana, Trauer, James, and McBryde, Emma (2020) Delaying the COVID‐19 epidemic in Australia: evaluating the effectiveness of international travel bans. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 44 (4). pp. 257-259.

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Objective: Following the outbreak of novel Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus‐2 (SARS‐CoV‐2), and the disease named COVID‐19, in Wuhan, China in late 2019, countries have implemented different interventions such as travel bans to slow the spread of this novel virus. This brief report evaluates the effect of travel bans imposed to prevent COVID‐19 importation in the Australian context.

Methods: We developed a stochastic meta‐population model to capture the global dynamics and spread of COVID‐19. By adjusting our model to capture the travel bans imposed globally and in Australia, the predicted COVID‐19 cases imported to Australia were evaluated in comparison to observed imported cases.

Results: Our modelling results closely aligned with observed cases in Australia and elsewhere. We observed a 79% reduction in COVID‐19 importation and a delay of the COVID‐19 outbreak in Australia by approximately one month. Further projection of COVID‐19 to May 2020 showed spread patterns depending on the basic reproduction number.

Conclusion: Imposing the travel ban was effective in delaying widespread transmission of COVID‐19. However, strengthening of the domestic control measures is needed to prevent Australia from becoming another epicentre.

Implications for public health: This report has shown the importance of border closure to pandemic control.

Item ID: 64757
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1753-6405
Keywords: COVID-19, Travel ban, Mathematical modelling, Basic reproduction number
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Authors This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2021 00:29
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420205 Epidemiological modelling @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 100%
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