Kochi: Countries like India are battling hard to prevent community
spread of novel coronavirus infection and effected a complete lockdown to fight the deadly Covid-19. A new study held in a simulated Singapore setting has underlined
the importance of the tough measure in containing the virus spread.
The study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases
journal, has found physical distancing interventions, comprising quarantine for
infected individuals and their families, workplace distancing and school
closure, are the most effective in reducing the number of novel coronavirus
The quarantine plus workplace measures presented the next
best option for reducing SARS-CoV-2 cases, followed by quarantine plus school
closure, and then quarantine only, as per the first of its kind study on early
The study found the combined approach could prevent a
national outbreak at relatively low levels of infectivity (basic reproductivity
value (R0) = 1.5), but at higher infectivity scenarios (R0 = 2.0 (considered
moderate) and R0 = 2.5 (considered high)), outbreak prevention becomes
considerably more challenging because although effective at reducing
infections, transmission events still occur.
“Should local containment measures, such as preventing
disease spread through contact tracing efforts and, more recently, not
permitting short-term visitors, be unsuccessful, the results of this study
provide policy makers in Singapore and other countries with evidence to begin
the implementation of enhanced outbreak control measures that could mitigate or
reduce local transmission rates if deployed effectively and in a timely manner,"
Dr Alex R Cook of the National University of Singapore, said in a statement.
The researchers estimated the cumulative number of SARS-CoV-2
infections at 80 days, after detection of 100 cases of community transmission,
based on assessment of modal parameters such as how infectious an individual is
over time, proportion of population assumed to be asymptomatic and the duration
of hospital stay after the onset of symptoms.
In addition to a baseline scenario, which included no interventions, four intervention scenarios were proposed for implementation after failure of local containment: 1) isolation of infected individuals and quarantine of their family members (quarantine); 2) quarantine plus immediate school closure for 2 weeks; 3) quarantine plus immediate workplace distancing, in which 50% of the workforce is encouraged to work from home for 2 weeks; 4) a combination of quarantine, immediate school closure, and workplace distancing.