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Isolation, Quarantine, Social Distancing and Community Containment: Pivotal Role for Old-Style Public Health Measures in the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Outbreak

Published time: 10 February 2020

Authors: A Wilder-Smith, O Freedman

Keywords: SARS, MERS, coronavirus, Wuhan, pandemic preparedness, COVID-19


The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019 quickly spread within Hubei province and has now reached all provinces in China and was exported to >20 countries by 30 January 2020. 2019-nCoV is thought to be primarily transmitted by respiratory droplets with similar incubation time and generation time as SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV).1,2 SARS was frightening at the time, maybe even more frightening compared to 2019-nCoV (now renamed COVID-19) given its much more frequent progression to severe disease and death. But the world was able to completely interrupt human-to-human transmission, halt the epidemic and SARS-CoV is now eradicated. In the absence of vaccines and antivirals, this remarkable achievement was only possible because of the rigorous implementation of traditional public health measures.

Isolation, quarantine, social distancing and community containment pivotal role for oldstyle public health measures in the novel coronavirus 2019nCoV outbreak



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