16 July 2020


The effect of border controls on the risk of COVID-19 reincursion from international arrivals


Executive Summary

  • A 14-day period of managed isolation or quarantine (MIQ) with day 3 and day 12 testing reduces the risk of an infectious case being released into the community to a very low level.
  • A five-day quarantine period is ineffective and would present a much greater risk to the community.
  • Any mixing of individuals in MIQ that could allow transmission of COVID-19 increases the risk of an infectious case being released into the community.
  • Strict infection control and use of PPE by staff at MIQ is essential and close contact between individuals in MIQ and staff must be avoided.
  • Provided the above guidelines are followed, special exemptions restricted to the second week of stay and after an additional negative test result has been returned pose little additional risk.
  • The ratio of cases detected in the second week to cases detected in the first week can be used to estimate whether transmission within MIQ is occurring, although this requires a larger sample size than is currently available.