A stochastic model for COVID-19 spread and the effects of Alert Level 4 in Aotearoa New Zealand

COVID-19 Infectious diseases Disease management Modelling health data New Zealand

While case numbers remain low, population-wide control methods combined with efficient tracing, testing, and case isolation, offer the opportunity for New Zealand to contain and eliminate COVID-19. The authors use a stochastic model to investigate containment and elimination scenarios for COVID-19 in New Zealand, as the country considers the exit from its four week period of strong Level 4 population-wide control measures.

Key findings:

  1. Findings suggest that the current population-wide controls (Alert Level 4) have already had a significant effect on new case numbers.
  2. Fast case isolation, whether as a result of contact tracing, rapid testing, or otherwise, can lead to containment and possibly even elimination, when combined with strong population-wide controls.
  3. Slow case isolation can also lead to containment, but only as long as strong population-wide controls remain in place. It is unlikely to lead to elimination.
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