Understanding the spatio-temporal characteristics or patterns of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic is critical in effectively preventing and controlling this epidemic. However, no research analyzed the spatial dependency and temporal dynamics of 2019-nCoV. Consequently, this research aims to detect the spatio-temporal patterns of the 2019-nCoV epidemic using spatio-temporal analysis methods at the county level in Hubei province. The Mann-Kendall and Pettitt methods were used to identify the temporal trends and abrupt changes in the time series of daily new confirmed cases, respectively. The local Moran's I index was applied to uncover the spatial patterns of the incidence rate, including spatial clusters and outliers. On the basis of the data from January 26 to February 11, 2020, we found that there were 11 areas with different types of temporal patterns of daily new confirmed cases. The pattern characterized by an increasing trend and abrupt change is mainly attributed to the improvement in the ability to diagnose the disease. Spatial clusters with high incidence rates during the period were concentrated in Wuhan Metropolitan Area due to the high intensity of spatial interaction of the population. Therefore, enhancing the ability to diagnose the disease and controlling the movement of the population can be confirmed as effective measures to prevent and control the regional outbreak of the epidemic.
Keywords: 2019 novel coronavirus; abrupt change; daily new confirmed cases; geographic information science; incidence rates; spatial cluster; spatial outlier.