A new study published on Thursday shows that public health measures adopted in China have effectively contained the COVID-19 outbreak.
The study, published in the Journal of Population Economics, suggests that more than 1.4 million infections and 56,000 deaths might have been avoided as a result of the national and provincial public health measures imposed in late January in China.
The study, led by Xi Chen, a professor at Yale School of Public Health and president of the China Health Policy and Management Society, modelled the local and cross-city transmissions of the novel coronavirus in China between Jan. 19 and Feb. 29.
The researchers implemented a machine learning approach to select instrumental variables that strongly predict virus transmission among the rich exogenous weather characteristics.
They examined the role of various socioeconomic mediating factors, including public health measures that encourage social distancing in local communities.
The study shows that stringent quarantine, city lockdown, and local public health measures imposed since late January significantly decreased the virus transmission rate.
The virus spread was contained by the middle of February.
The most effective measure was found to be “city lockdown” first, followed by “closed management of communities” and “family outdoor restrictions,” according to the study.
Population outflow from the outbreak source region posed a higher risk to the destination regions than other factors including geographic proximity and similarity in economic conditions, according to the study.
“The results of the study have rich implications for ongoing global efforts in containment of COVID-19,” Chen told Xinhua in an interview.
The measures taken by China not only helped the international community to better understand how to effectively respond to COVID-19, but also provided reference for the control and prevention of similar infectious diseases in the future, Chen said.