Why cutting 2m rule to 1m would create 10-times the risk
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Combination of measures are key to control of Covid-19 pandemic

A mix of self-isolation and extensive contact tracing with moderate physical distancing measures could help keep the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic under control, it has been claimed.

Latest research based on mathematical modelling outlines that, in the absence of a vaccine, the most effective way to keep control of the disease would require a combination of factors involving changes to human behaviour.

These would include retaining social distancing measures, such as remote working and limiting large gatherings, alongside other preventative actions such as contact tracing and self isolation.

The team used social contact data on more than 40,000 individuals from the BBC Pandemic database and was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

It also modelled the ‘R’ rate reproductive number, which is the average number of people each individual with the virus is likely to infect at a given moment, using different scenarios.

To keep the Covid-19 epidemic declining, R needs to be less than one.

But is has been claimed that R would be 2.6, meaning that one infected person would infect two or three more people on average if no controls had been in place.

The researchers calculated that mass testing alone, with five per cent of the population undergoing random testing each week, would lower R to just 2.5, as many infections would either be missed or detected too late.

Compared with no control measures, self-isolation of symptomatic cases alone would reduce transmission by around 29 per cent, lowering R to 1.8.

But the model showed that combining self-isolation, household quarantine and tracing strategies, would potentially slash transmission by 64 per cent, bringing R down to 0.94.

However, this conclusion is based on quick isolation and adherence to quarantine.

Study author Dr Adam Kucharski, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, said: “Our findings reinforce the growing body of evidence which suggests that we can’t rely on one single public health measure to achieve epidemic control.

“Successful strategies will likely include intensive testing and contact tracing supplemented with moderate forms of physical distancing, such as limiting the size of social gatherings and remote working, which can both reduce transmission and the number of contacts that need to be traced.”

He added: “The huge scale of testing and contact tracing that is needed to reduce Covid-19 from spreading is resource intensive, and new app-based tracing, if adopted widely alongside traditional contact tracing, could enhance the effectiveness of identifying contacts, particularly those that would otherwise be missed.”

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Nicole Benitez
Nicole Benitez is the author of our Euro News section. As the world awakens to a new dawn idea, a lot of fake news and misconceptions are communicated to the public when there is no need! For all our clarifications and Europe related policy decisions, Nicole is who we rely on. Her eloquence when debating issues plaguing Europe will leave you starstruck!

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