The large number of individuals placed into quarantine because of possible SARS CoV-2 exposure has high societal and economic costs. There is ongoing debate about the appropriate duration of quarantine, particularly since the fraction of individuals who eventually test positive is perceived as being low. We use empirically determined distributions of incubation period, infectivity, and generation time to quantify how the duration of quarantine affects onward transmission from traced contacts of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases and from returning travellers. We also consider the roles of testing followed by release if negative (test-and-release), reinforced hygiene, adherence, and symptoms in calculating quarantine efficacy. We show that there are quarantine strategies based on a test-and-release protocol that, from an epidemiological viewpoint, perform almost as well as a 10 day quarantine, but with fewer person days spent in quarantine. The findings apply to both travellers and contacts, but the specifics depend on the context.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. These files are available on github (https://github.com/ashcroftp/quarantine2020/) and archived at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4498169.
- Nicola Low
- Nicola Low
- Sebastian Bonhoeffer
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Deborah Cromer, University of New South Wales, Australia
© 2021, Ashcroft et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.