As Covid-19 spreads the World Health Organisation state mitigation may be better than quarantine

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The statement on Covid-19 outbreak from the World Health Organization (WHO) that we are in “uncharted territory” on the coronavirus outbreak comes as no surprise as Covid-19 infections are spreading beyond China at an alarming pace, with several clusters of outbreaks being reported in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Governments should start to consider focusing on mitigation and bolstering the health system for early detection and care of patients, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The main strategy to battle the spread of Covid-19 has been one of containment and quarantine of outbreak areas, with the most severe travel restrictions taking place within China. However, as Covid-19 is trending toward pandemic status with multiple clusters outside of China, quarantine may no longer be the right approach to limit further outbreaks.

Bishal Bhandari, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData, says: “Travel restriction from outbreak countries might not be an effective strategy as it was when the infection was still localized. Tracking who had traveled where from multiple international locations will be extremely difficult.

“Travel out of Italy, Korea and Iran had not been restricted in the days before the concerning reports of new infections, and it is likely that people have carried the virus out of those areas already. Indeed, more than 14 countries have already reported cases exported from Italy.

“Governments should consider focusing on mitigation measures for the spread of Covid-19 to help slow the spread of infections and reduce the severity of the outbreak. The strategy of mitigation or slowing the spread by closing schools or mass gatherings could be more effective in countries where cities and towns cannot be locked down and complete ban on movement of people is not possible.”

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