Risk Assessment of Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreaks Outside China

J Clin Med. 2020 Feb 19;9(2):571. doi: 10.3390/jcm9020571.


We developed a computational tool to assess the risks of novel coronavirus outbreaks outside of China. We estimate the dependence of the risk of a major outbreak in a country from imported cases on key parameters such as: (i) the evolution of the cumulative number of cases in mainland China outside the closed areas; (ii) the connectivity of the destination country with China, including baseline travel frequencies, the effect of travel restrictions, and the efficacy of entry screening at destination; and (iii) the efficacy of control measures in the destination country (expressed by the local reproduction number R loc ). We found that in countries with low connectivity to China but with relatively high R loc , the most beneficial control measure to reduce the risk of outbreaks is a further reduction in their importation number either by entry screening or travel restrictions. Countries with high connectivity but low R loc benefit the most from policies that further reduce R loc . Countries in the middle should consider a combination of such policies. Risk assessments were illustrated for selected groups of countries from America, Asia, and Europe. We investigated how their risks depend on those parameters, and how the risk is increasing in time as the number of cases in China is growing.

Keywords: COVID-19; branching process; compartmental model; interventions; novel coronavirus; outbreak; risk assessment; transmission; travel.