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Are countries precautionary actions against COVID-19 effective? An assessment study of 175 countries worldwide

By Thamir M Alshammari, Khalidah Alenzi, Fatemah Alnofal, Ghada Fradees, Ali Altebainawi

Posted 18 Jul 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.07.16.20155515

Background The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected many countries negatively, particularly in terms of their health care and financial systems. Numerous countries have attempted to employ precautions to address this pandemic. Objective This study was aimed at exploring and assessing the precautionary actions taken by 175 countries on six continents to prevent the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Methods An observational study was conducted based on data collected during the period from December 31, 2019, until the end of April 2020. Several data were extracted, including information related to the date of the first reported case of SARS-CoV-2, total confirmed cases, total active cases, and more. In addition, seven validated indicators were used to assess the countries preparedness and precautionary actions. Results A total of 175 countries were included in the study. The total COVID-19 infection rate increased exponentially and rapidly in North America and Europe from March to April. The application of the precautions (indicators) varied between countries. School closures, quarantines and curfews were the most applied indicators among all countries. As for the relationship between the indicators and their effects on the infection rate, Italy and Spain were the top countries in Europe and adopted all indicators. Nevertheless, they faced high infection rates: 239,639 and 205,463 COVID-19 cases in Spain, and Italy, respectively. Conclusion The precautionary actions might have played a role in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in several countries. However, many countries did not benefit from applying these indicators.

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