NEW RESEARCH — LINK TO FULL PDF
20 August 2020
Managing the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak from border arrivals
- Weekly testing of all workers who have direct or indirect contact with border arrivals and quarantine residents will greatly reduce the chance of another outbreak.
- These tests should be conducted by a health professional with knowledge of COVID-19 symptoms to reduce false negatives and help diagnose probable cases.
- If the first detected case of COVID-19 is in a frontline worker, there is a high probability that the outbreak is still very small and can be contained by fast case isolation and contact tracing.
- If the first detected case of COVID-19 is in an individual without a direct link to arrivals or quarantine facilities, then an immediate local lockdown may be necessary to contain the outbreak.
- If the first detected case of COVID-19 is in an individual who is a household contact of a frontline worker and does not themselves have direct contact with the quarantine process, this should be treated in the same way as community transmission and strong community-wide social distancing measures, possible a regional return to a high alert level, should be considered.
- This applies even if the first detected community cases is a household contact of a frontline worker because it means there is a high risk the frontline worker has already infected others.
- Well-managed 14 day quarantine, with minimal interactions between travellers beyond family groups, and tests on day 3 and day 12 provides a very good safeguard against infected travellers initiating community outbreaks.
An early version of this paper was leaked after being supplied confidentially to government, and was reported on in this story.