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Non-pharmaceutical interventions for controlling COVID-19

A major Royal Society report COVID-19: examining the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions has reviewed the international scientific evidence gathered during the pandemic for the effectiveness of six groups of measures at reducing transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) include any measures that are not drugs or vaccines aimed at reducing transmission of an infectious disease. Six categories of NPIs used by countries around the world are considered by the report: masks and face coverings; social distancing and ‘lockdowns; test, trace and isolate; travel restrictions and controls across international borders; environmental controls; and communications.

The report draws together the findings of six expert-led evidence reviews, which were also published on Thursday 24 August in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, as well as a cross-country comparison and case studies of countries and regions that were able to maintain low levels of SARS-CoV-2 transmission for a prolonged period of the pandemic.


Speakers included:

Professor Sir Mark Walport FRS, Honorary Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Imperial College London, Foreign Secretary of The Royal Society and chair of the report working group

Professor Christl Donnelly FRS, Head of Department and Professor of Applied Statistics, University of Oxford, and Professor of Statistical Epidemiology, Imperial College London

Professor Chris Dye FRS, Professor of Epidemiology, University of Oxford

Professor Salim Abdool Karim FRS, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of KwaZulu-Natal, and CAPRISA Professor of Global Health, Columbia University


This Briefing was accompanied by an SMC Roundup of Comments.

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