Intensive non-pharmaceutical interventions have stemmed the first wave of COVID-19 infections in China, but close monitoring is needed to prevent resurgence.
Kathy Leung, Joseph Wu and Gabriel Leung of HKU SPH published a modelling study in the Lancet, which assessed the transmissibility and severity of COVID-19 in Chinese provinces outside Hubei. Since the implementation of the control measures on January 23, the average number of cases generated by one case over time or the instantaneous reproduction number (Rt) in selected provinces have all dropped significantly, and have remained below one. This suggests that the first wave of COVID-19 outside Hubei has weakened with the active non-pharmaceutical interventions. However, the models in this study suggest that there is still a significant risk of an epidemic if interventions are relaxed. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor the Rt closely and tune policy interventions in real-time to ensure that the possible second wave of COVID-19 transmission is kept under control.
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