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Transmissibility of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Chinese cities with different transmission dynamics of imported cases

By Ka Chun Chong, Wei Cheng, Shi Zhao, Feng Ling, Kirran N. Mohammad, Maggie Haitian Wang, Benny Chung Ying Zee, Lei Wei, Xi Xiong, Hengyan Liu, Jingxuan Wang, Enfu Chen

Posted 18 Mar 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.15.20036541

BackgroundMonitoring the time-varying reproduction number (Rt) of the disease is useful in determining whether there is sustained transmission in a population. In this study, we examined Rt of COVID-19 and compared its transmissibility between different intervention periods in Hangzhou and Shenzhen. MethodsDaily aggregated counts of confirmed imported and local cases between January 1, 2020 and March 13, 2020 were analysed. A likelihood function was constructed to estimate Rt, accounting for imported cases. ResultsAlthough Hangzhou had fewer number of cases than Shenzhen, Shenzhen had higher proportion of imported cases than Hangzhou (83% vs 29%). Since the epidemic of COVID-19 in Shenzhen was dominated by imported cases, Rt was kept below unity through time. On the contrary, Rt was greater than unity in Hangzhou from 16 January to 7 February due to the surge in local cases. Credits to the Wuhan lockdown and outbreak response measures following the local lockdown, Rt decreased steadily and dropped below unity in mid-February. ConclusionThe lockdown measures and local outbreak responses helped reduce the potential of local transmission in Hangzhou and Shenzhen. Meanwhile, cities with similar epidemic trend could have different transmission dynamics given the variation in imported cases.

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