What China’s coronavirus response can teach the rest of the world

David Cyranoski in Nature:

As the new coronavirus marches around the globe, countries with escalating outbreaks are eager to learn whether China’s extreme lockdowns were responsible for bringing the crisis there under control. Other nations are now following China’s lead and limiting movement within their borders, while dozens of countries have restricted international visitors. In mid-January, Chinese authorities introduced unprecedented measures to contain the virus, stopping movement in and out of Wuhan, the centre of the epidemic, and 15 other cities in Hubei province — home to more than 60 million people. Flights and trains were suspended, and roads were blocked. Soon after, people in many Chinese cities were told to stay home and venture out only to get food or medical help. Some 760 million people, roughly half the country’s population, were confined to their homes, according to the New York Times. It’s now two months since the lockdowns began — some of which are still in place — and the number of new cases there is around a couple dozen per day, down from thousands per day at the peak. “These extreme limitations on population movement have been quite successful,” says Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease scientist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

In a report released late last month, the World Health Organization congratulated China on a “unique and unprecedented public health response [that] reversed the escalating cases”. But the crucial question is which interventions in China were the most important in driving down the spread of the virus, says Gabriel Leung, an infectious-disease researcher at the University of Hong Kong. “The countries now facing their first wave [of infections] need to know this,” he says.

More here.