07.09.2020 change 07.09.2020
Ludwika Tomala
Ludwika Tomala

New database catalogues how individual countries responded to COVID-19 pandemic

Credit: Adobe Stock Credit: Adobe Stock

A database to identify how different countries are coping with the killer COVID-19 virus has been put together by an international team of researchers.

With each country responding in different ways, the researchers wanted to collate the differing methods to get an overview of the effectiveness of each approach. 

Dr. Joanna Grzymała-Moszczyńska from the Jagiellonian University, one of the participants in the project, said: “The purpose of this database is to compare the strategies of different governments in the fight against the coronavirus; consider what worked and what did not, and at which point.”

The database contains information about restrictions introduced (or lifted) through legal acts, various steps taken by the authorities, such as increasing the scale of testing or taking actions to promote certain behaviours. Information was also collected on the number of new confirmed cases of infection in each day.

Thanks to these data, the database makes it possible to track, for example, which countries introduced health checks at airports, closed educational institutions, introduced citizen mobility restrictions, increased the possibility of coronavirus testing or introduced a national lockdown or cordon sanitaires. It also shows when the countries did this and evaluates the effectiveness of the measures.

Dr. Grzymała-Moszczyńska said the database will provide a tool to compare the effectiveness of policies related to combating epidemics, and added: “We know that the World Health Organization uses our database to prepare recommendations and make decisions.”

The publication in Scientific Data also includes a map comparing how many interventions have been introduced in each country. In this ranking (data until mid-July 2020), Poland is the country with the most interventions.

Dr. Grzymała-Moszczyńska said: “We hope that governments, politicians and ministries of health can make better decisions in relation to the coronavirus on the basis of these databases. It may be a useful tool to fight the pandemic.”

The publication in Scientific Data can be read here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41597-020-00609-9. The data are available for free on the project website and will be updated.

PAP - Science in Poland, Ludwika Tomala

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