HKU - Promptly limit population mobility against coming pandemic
HKU press release on Wuhan coronavirus outbreak modelling on Jan 27

HKU - Promptly limit population mobility against coming pandemic

2020, Jan 27    

With eight cases of the Wuhan coronavirus confirmed as of today (Jan 27), fears to communal outbreak in Hong Kong heightens.

In the press release today, the Hong Kong University (HKU) epidemiology expert team explained their projection of current actual case numbers and future spread of the outbreak, and calls for prompt public health intervention acitons.

Prof. Gabriel Leung, Chair Professor of Public Health Medicine, HKUMed, and Founding Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, presented an estimated case number in Wuha up to 44k based on Jan 25 data. With evident on-going self-sustaining human-to-human transmission, the spread and subsequent local establishment outside mainland China woule be inevitable, unless for prompt deployment of some or all of the following interventions. These include

  • Immediate substantial, draconian measures to limit population mobility
    • Mass gathering cancellation, school closures, work-from-home arrangements
  • Mitigation measures referencing previous major outbreaks, e.g. SARS and MERS should containment fail and local transmission is established
  • Preparedness plans for regions with closest travel links with major Chinese ports ready to be deployed at short notice

Leung expressed the inadequacy of goverment action to only limit travel from Hubei and require declaration of 14-day travel history, and called on the government to broaden the scope of border closure and to devise “feasible, implementable and enforceable” plans, including consideration for food and supplies transport.


References

  • Press release (Jan 27): https://sph.hku.hk/en/news/press-releases/2020/hkumed-who-collaborating-centre-for-infectious-disease-epidemiology-and-control-releases-real-time-nowcast-on-the-likely-extent-of-the-wuhan-coronavirus-outbreak,-and-forecasts-domestic-and-international-spread-%E2%80%93-update
  • Presentation slides: https://sph.hku.hk/images/news/press-releases2020/Wuhan-20200127.pdf

  • China coronavirus: Hong Kong medical experts call for ‘draconian’ measures in city as research estimates there are already 44,000 cases in Wuhan - SCMP: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3047813/china-coronavirus-hong-kong-medical-experts-call

  • Relevant press release (Jan 21): https://sph.hku.hk/en/news/press-releases/2020/nowcasting-and-forecasting-the-wuhan-2019-ncov-outbreak