Primary measures to contain coronavirus in China prevented 700 thousand people from becoming infected. Researchers at the University of Oxford calculated that strict quarantine delayed the spread of the virus outside Wuhan for several days and interrupted its large-scale transmission throughout the country.
Scientists noted that by the fiftieth day of the epidemic, the number of confirmed cases was about 30 thousand people. Their analysis showed that if on this day the authorities had not banned travel to Wuhan and limited movement within the city, this would have led to another 700 thousand confirmed cases of COVID-19 outside of Wuhan. “It seems that the Chinese control measures have worked, successfully breaking the chain of transmission of the virus”, they added.
Researchers used a combination of case reports, movement data, and government intervention information. Scientists studied the movement of 4.3 million people from Wuhan before the ban on travel, the types, and timing of control measures in Chinese cities, as well as the number of cases of COVID-19, recorded in each city.
The team’s model also analyzed other effects of traffic restrictions in Wuhan and found that it delayed the spread of the virus to other cities for several days. “This delay provided extra time to prepare for COVID-19 in more than 130 cities”, the scientists said.
In other cities, mass gatherings were banned, entertainment facilities closed, and public transport stopped. There, during the first week of the spread of the virus, 33% fewer confirmed cases were recorded than in cities where these measures were not taken.