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Mathematical Model of COVID-19 Transmission Dynamics in South Korea: The Impacts of Travel Restrictions, Social Distancing, and Early Detection

by Byul Nim Kim 1,†, Eunjung Kim 2,†, Sunmi Lee 3,* and Chunyoung Oh 4,*
1
Department of Mathematics, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41566, Korea
2
Natural Product Informatics Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Gangneung 25451, Korea
3
Department of Applied Mathematics, Kyung Hee University, Yongin 17104, Korea
4
Department of Mathematics Education, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Korea
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Processes 2020, 8(10), 1304; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8101304
Received: 14 August 2020 / Revised: 30 September 2020 / Accepted: 12 October 2020 / Published: 17 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Numerical Simulation and Control for Disease)
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) poses a severe threat to public health officials all around the world. The early COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea displayed significant spatial heterogeneity. The number of confirmed cases increased rapidly in the Daegu and Gyeongbuk (epicenter), whereas the spread was much slower in the rest of Korea. A two-patch mathematical model with a mobility matrix is developed to capture this significant spatial heterogeneity of COVID-19 outbreaks from 18 February to 24 March 2020. The mobility matrix is taken from the movement data provided by the Korea Transport Institute (KOTI). Some of the essential patch-specific parameters are estimated through cumulative confirmed cases, including the transmission rates and the basic reproduction numbers (local and global). Our simulations show that travel restrictions between the epicenter and the rest of Korea effectively prevented massive outbreaks in the rest of Korea. Furthermore, we explore the effectiveness of several additional strategies for the mitigation and suppression of Covid-19 spread in Korea, such as implementing social distancing and early diagnostic interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19 transmission dynamics in South Korea; two-patch mathematical model; mobility data; basic reproduction number; cumulative incidence; travel restrictions; social distancing; early diagnostic interventions COVID-19 transmission dynamics in South Korea; two-patch mathematical model; mobility data; basic reproduction number; cumulative incidence; travel restrictions; social distancing; early diagnostic interventions
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Kim, B.N.; Kim, E.; Lee, S.; Oh, C. Mathematical Model of COVID-19 Transmission Dynamics in South Korea: The Impacts of Travel Restrictions, Social Distancing, and Early Detection. Processes 2020, 8, 1304.

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