NEW RESEARCH — LINK TO FULL PDF 

20 August 2020

 

Managing the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak from border arrivals

 


Executive Summary

  • 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.

 


Side note

An early version of this paper was leaked after being supplied confidentially to government, and was reported on in this story.