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Early evaluation of the Wuhan City travel restrictions in response to the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak

Abstract

An ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first reported in China and has spread worldwide. On January 23rd 2020 China shut down transit in and out of Wuhan, a major transport hub and conurbation of 11 million inhabitants, to contain the outbreak. By combining epidemiological and human mobility data we find that the travel ban slowed the dispersal of nCoV from Wuhan to other cities in China by 2.91 days (95% CI: 2.54-3.29). This delay provided time to establish and reinforce other control measures that are essential to halt the epidemic. The ongoing dissemination of 2019-nCoV provides an opportunity to examine how travel restrictions impede the spatial dispersal of an emerging infectious disease. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest. ### Funding Statement Funding for this study was provided by the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (JQ18025); Beijing Advanced Innovation Program for Land Surface Science; National Natural Science Foundation of China (81673234); Young Elite Scientist Sponsorship Program by CAST (YESS)(2018QNRC001) ### Author Declarations All relevant ethical guidelines have been followed; any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained and details of the IRB/oversight body are included in the manuscript. Yes All necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived. Yes I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance). Yes I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable. Yes Population sizes for each city were collected from the China City Statistical Yearbook (http://olap.epsnet.com.cn/).Human movement can be observed directly from mobile phone data, through the location-based services (LBS) employed by popular Tencent applications, such as WeChat and QQ. Average movement outflows from Wuhan City to other cities, by air, train, and road, were calculated from the migration flows database (https://heat.qq.com/) over the entire 2018.

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