The Current State of COVID-19 in Australia: Importation and Spread
8 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2020More...
Background: The rapid global spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is unprecedented. The outbreak has quickly spread to more than 100 countries reporting over 100,000 confirmed cases. Australia reported its first case of COVID-19 on 25th January 2020 and has since implemented travel restrictions to stop further introduction of the virus.
Methods: We analysed daily global COVID-19 data published by the World Health Organisation to investigate the spread of the virus thus far. To assess the current risk of COVID-19 importation and local spread in Australia we predict international passenger flows into Australia during 2020.
Findings: Our analysis of global data shows that Australia can expect a similar growth rate of reported cases as observed in France and the United States. We identify travel patterns of Australian citizens/residents and foreign travellers that can inform the implementation of new and the alteration of existing travel restrictions related to COVID-19.
Interpretation: Our findings identify the risk reduction potential of current travel bans, based on the proportion of returning travellers to Australia that are residents or visitors. The similarity of the exponential growth in the epidemic curve in Australia to other countries guides forecasts of COVID-19 growth in Australia, and opportunities for drawing lessons from other countries with more advanced outbreaks.
Funding Statement: None.
Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.
Ethics Approval Statement: Data is publicly available.
Keywords: COVID-19; Australia; Air travel; Infectious disease spread
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