Monthly Archives: October 2021

Impact of travel ban implementation on COVID-19 spread in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea during the early phase of the pandemic: a comparative study

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has elicited imposition of some form of travel restrictions by almost all countries in the world. Most restrictions currently persist, although some have been gradually eased. It remains unclear if the trade-off from the unprecedented disruption to air travel was well worth for pandemic containment.

Method: A comparative analysis was conducted on Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea’s COVID-19 response. Data on COVID-19 cases, travel-related and community interventions, socio-economic profile were consolidated. Trends on imported and local cases were analyzed using computations of moving averages, rate of change, particularly in response to distinct waves of travel-related interventions due to the outbreak in China, South Korea, Iran & Italy, and Europe.

Results: South Korea’s travel restrictions were observed to be consistently more lagged in terms of timeliness and magnitude, with their first wave of travel restrictions on flights departing from China implemented 34 days after the outbreak in Wuhan, compared to 22–26 days taken by Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. South Korea’s restrictions against all countries came after 91 days, compared to 78–80 days for the other three countries. The rate of change of imported cases fell by 1.08–1.43 across all four countries following the first wave of travel restrictions on departures from China, and by 0.22–0.52 in all countries except South Korea in the fifth wave against all international travellers. Delayed rate of change of local cases resulting from travel restrictions imposed by the four countries with intrinsic importation risk, were not observed.

Conclusions: Travel restriction was effective in preventing COVID-19 case importation in early outbreak phase, but may still be limited in preventing general local transmission. The impact of travel restrictions, regardless of promptness, in containing epidemics likely also depends on the effectiveness of local surveillance and non-pharmaceutical interventions concurrently implemented.

Citation: Gwee, S.X.W., Chua, P.E.Y., Wang, M.X. et al. Impact of travel ban implementation on COVID-19 spread in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea during the early phase of the pandemic: a comparative study. BMC Infect Dis 21, 799 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-021-06449-1

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Relationship between local weather, air pollution and hospital attendances for urticaria in children: Time stratified analysis of 12,002 cases

Citation: Choo KJL, Ho AFW, Gui H, Tay PJM, Lee HY, Koh MS, Earnest A, Pek PP, Liu N, Chong SL, Pang J, Ong MEH. Relationship between local weather, air pollution and hospital attendances for urticaria in children: Time stratified analysis of 12,002 cases. Clin Exp Allergy. 2021 Sep 22. doi: 10.1111/cea.14015. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34549849.

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Factors associated with high compliance behaviour against COVID-19 in the early phase of pandemic: a cross-sectional study in 12 Asian countries

Abstract

Introduction: Regardless of having effective vaccines against COVID-19, containment measures such as enhanced physical distancing and good practice of personal hygiene remain the mainstay of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries across Asia have imposed these containment measures to varying extents. However, residents in different countries would have a differing degree of compliance to these containment measures potentially due to differences in the level of awareness and motivation in the early phase of pandemic.

Objectives: In our study, we aimed to describe and correlate the level of knowledge and attitude with the level of compliance with personal hygiene and physical distancing practices among Asian countries in the early phase of pandemic.

Methods: A multinational cross-sectional study was carried out using electronic surveys between May and June 2020 across 14 geographical areas. Subjects aged 21 years and above were invited to participate through social media, word of mouth and electronic mail.

Results: Among the 2574 responses obtained, 762 (29.6%) participants were from East Asia and 1812 (70.4%) were from Southeast Asia (SEA). A greater proportion of participants from SEA will practise physical distancing as long as it takes (72.8% vs 60.6%). Having safe distancing practices such as standing more than 1 or 2 m apart (AdjOR 5.09 95% CI (1.08 to 24.01)) or more than 3 or 4 m apart (AdjOR 7.05 95% CI (1.32 to 37.67)), wearing a mask when they had influenza-like symptoms before the COVID-19 pandemic, preferring online news channels such as online news websites/applications (AdjOR 1.73 95% CI (1.21 to 2.49)) and social media (AdjOR 1.68 95% CI (1.13 to 2.50) as sources of obtaining information about COVID-19 and high psychological well-being (AdjOR 1.39 95% CI (1.04 to 1.87)) were independent factors associated with high compliance.

Conclusions: We found factors associated with high compliance behaviour against COVID-19 in the early phase of pandemic and it will be useful to consider them in risk assessment, communication and pandemic preparedness.

Citation: Chua CEKew GSDemutska A, et al. Factors associated with high compliance behaviour against COVID-19 in the early phase of pandemic: a cross-sectional study in 12 Asian countries.

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Military Infectious Disease Surveillance (25 September – 1 October 2021)

[1-3] United States Forces Japan

·       On 24 Sept, the US military installation in Japan reported 29 new cases of which 24 cases were from Kaden Air Base on Okinawa since 18 Sept, four cases were from Yokota since 21 Sept and one case from Yokosuka since 21 Sept.

·       On 24 Sept, the USFJ reported less than 160 cases on all 15 US bases with eight installations on Okinawa accounting for around 100 cases.

·       On 28 Sept, Yokosuka Naval Base reported three new cases since 24 Sept.

·       On 30 Sept, the US military in Japan reported seven new cases with one case in Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and six cases identified since 22 Sept in the US Army Japan.

[4] United States Forces Korea

·       On 24 Sept, the USFK reported six new cases consisting of five American service members and a US DoD contractor who were tested positive upon arriving in South Korea this month. This increase the total cases among the USFK-affiliated population to 1,441.

[5-10] South Korea

·       On 25 Sept, eight service members and an Army civilian employee have been tested positive bringing the total cases among the military population to 1,732. Of the total cases, seven cases (1 airman, 2 Marines, 3 soldiers and an Army civilian employee) had contracted the virus during or after a vacation while the others were identified after displaying symptoms.

·       On 27 Sept, two Army soldiers were reported positive for coronavirus bringing the total cases among the military population to 1,739. One of the soldiers in Inje had contact with an infected individual in the base and the other soldier in Incheon was identified after displaying symptoms.

·       On 28 Sept, the defense ministry reported four new cases consisting of three service members and a civilian worker. One officer affiliated with South Korea-United States Combined Forces Command in Seoul and another two Army officers in Seoul and Goyang were tested positive following the identification of infected family member. The civilian worker in Seoul had contracted the virus after having contact with an infected colleague. This brings the total cases among the military population to 1,743.

·       On 29 Sept, the defense ministry reported 12 new cases consisting of 11 Army soldiers and a Navy sailor bringing the total cases in the military population to 1,755. Six soldiers and the sailor were infected during or after the vacation, an officer was identified before transfer to another unit and the remaining cases were identified after displaying symptoms or having contact with an infected individual.

·       On 30 Sept, 11 new cases were reported from 10 Army soldiers and an Air Force officer bringing the total cases in the military population to 1,766. Six soldiers in Yanggu were tested positive in quarantine after a vacation, four officers from Yangu, Inje, Chuncheon and Damyang had developed symptoms and the Air force officer from Chungju had contact with an infected family member.

·       On 1 Oct, 10 new cases were reported from nine service members and a Marine Corps civilian employee bringing the total cases in the military population to 1,776.

[11, 12] United States

·       As of 22 Sept, 52 service members had died from Covid-19 complication and none of them were fully vaccinated. There were eight deaths in August and nine deaths thus far in Sept as compared to one or two death each month previously. The military Covid-19 mortality rate is now just over 0.02 but 50 times higher compared to previous surges last year. About 10% of the service members have been diagnosed.

·       As of 29 Sept, a total of 244,319 cases with 2,227 hospitalisations and 58 deaths have been reported in the US military. There were 85,030 cases in the Army, 47,588 cases in the Navy, 42,198 cases in the Air Force, 39,812 cases in the National Guard, 28,133 cases in the Marine Corps and 1,558 cases in the DoD Agencies.

Sources: 

  1. https://www.stripes.com/covid/2021-09-24/us-military-japan-coronavirus-cases-covid-19-tokyo-3001976.html
  2. https://www.stripes.com/covid/2021-09-28/japan-coronavirus-state-of-emergency-covid-19-3049528.html
  3. https://www.stripes.com/theaters/asia_pacific/2021-09-30/us-army-south-korea-coronavirus-covid-19-3074621.html
  4. https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210924007900325?section=national/defense
  5. https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210925002100325?section=national/defense
  6. https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210927004300325?section=national/defense
  7. https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210928004700325?section=national/defense
  8. https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210929006700325?section=national/defense
  9. https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210930003700325?section=national/defense
  10. https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20211001004300325?section=national/defense
  11. https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2021/09/24/military-covid-19-deaths-double-in-two-months/
  12. https://www.defense.gov/Spotlights/Coronavirus-DOD-Response/

 

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