What Is Required to Prevent a Second Major Outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 upon Lifting Quarantine in Wuhan City, China

Lei Zhang, Mingwang Shen, Xiaomeng Ma, Shu Su, Wenfeng Gong, Jing Wang, Yusha Tao, Zhuoru Zou, Rui Zhao, Joseph T.F. Lau, Wei Li, Feng Liu, Kai Ye, Youfa Wang, Guihua Zhuang, Christopher K. Fairley

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The Chinese government implemented a metropolitan-wide quarantine of Wuhan city on 23rd January 2020 to curb the epidemic of the coronavirus COVID-19. Lifting of this quarantine is imminent. We modelled the effects of two key health interventions on the epidemic when the quarantine is lifted. Methods: We constructed a compartmental dynamic model to forecast the trend of the COVID-19 epidemic at different quarantine lifting dates and investigated the impact of different rates of public contact and facial mask usage on the epidemic. Results: We projected a declining trend of the COVID-19 epidemic if the current quarantine strategy continues, and Wuhan would record the last new confirmed cases in late April 2020. At the end of the epidemic, 65,733 (45,722-99,015) individuals would be infected by the virus, among which 16,166 (11,238-24,603, 24.6%) were through public contacts, 45,996 (31,892-69,565, 69.7%) through household contact, and 3,571 (2,521-5,879, 5.5%) through hospital contacts (including 778 (553-1,154) non-COVID-19 patients and 2,786 (1,969-4,791) medical staff). A total of 2,821 (1,634-6,361) would die of COVID-19 related pneumonia in Wuhan. Early quarantine lifting on 21st March is viable only if Wuhan residents sustain a high facial mask usage of ≥85% and a pre-quarantine level public contact rate. Delaying city resumption to mid/late April would relax the requirement of facial mask usage to ≥75% at the same contact rate. Conclusions: The prevention of a second epidemic is viable after the metropolitan-wide quarantine is lifted but requires a sustaining high facial mask usage and a low public contact rate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100006
Number of pages6
JournalThe Innovation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2020

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