Spatio-temporal analysis of COVID-19 cases to inform scaling down of confinement measures as well as reactive strategies onward

A modelling analysis

Women wearing a mask and buying
Photo: Anna Shvets
04/05/2020 - 31/08/2020
Carlos Chaccour

The COVID-19 pandemic has now spread to almost all countries around the world. The response in almost all countries in Europe has been to implement a series of “non-pharmaceutical interventions” (NPIs) – including a banning of mass gatherings, closure of schools and universities, and more general restrictions on populations movements including full lockdowns. In most countries, we now have evidence to show that these NPIs have significantly reduced transmission such that the reproductive number – the average number of new infections generated by each initial infection – is close to or just below the threshold value of 1 required to bring the epidemic under control (Flaxman et al. 2020). However, there remains considerable uncertainty as to how these measures can be relaxed in the coming weeks and months whilst ensuring there are no rebound epidemics.

One of the proposed methods for relaxing existing interventions is to restrict movements to a smaller subset of the population. Two approaches are possible, alone or in tandem:

  • Restrict the movement of those at highest risk from severe disease – essentially shielding this population whilst allowing a degree of ongoing transmission in the lower risk population
  • Using app-based technology, combined with rapid testing, to rapidly isolate cases and their contacts.

The detailed data collected by the Catalonian government provide the opportunity to better understand the impact of these two approaches.

Our Team


  • Carlos Chaccour
    Carlos Chaccour Assistant Research Professor. BOHEMIA Chief Scientific Officer

ISGlobal involved staff

  • Sergi Sanz
    Sergi Sanz Head of Department - Statistics
  • Aina Casellas Torrentó
    Aina Casellas Torrentó

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