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Optimal Border Control during the Re-opening Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Zhen Zhu, Enzo Weber, Till Strohsal and Duaa Serhan

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Abstract: Most of the existing literature on the current pandemic focuses on approaches to model the outbreak and spreading of COVID-19. This paper proposes a generalized Markov-Switching approach, the SUIHR model, designed to study border control policies and contact tracing against COVID-19 in a period where countries start to re-open. We offer the following contributions. First, the SUIHR model can include multiple entities, reflecting different government bodies with different containment measures. Second, constraints as, for example, new case targets and medical resource limits can be imposed in a linear programming framework. Third, in contrast to most SIR models, we focus on the spreading of infectious people without symptoms instead of the spreading of people who are already showing symptoms. We find that even if a country has closed its borders completely, domestic contact tracing is not enough to go back to normal life. Countries having successfully controlled the virus can keep it under check as long as imported risk is not growing, meaning they can lift travel restrictions with similar countries. However, opening borders towards countries with less controlled infection dynamics would require a mandatory quarantine or a strict test on arrival.

Date: 2020-08, Revised 2020-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea, nep-int and nep-opm
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Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2008.13561