Google Research

Assessing the impact of coordinated COVID-19 exit strategies across Europe

  • Ruktanonchai, N. W.
  • Floyd, J. R.
  • Lai, S.
  • Ruktanonchai, C. W.
  • Sadilek, A.
  • Rente-Lourenco, P.
  • Ben, X.
  • Carioli, A.
  • Gwinn, J.
  • Steele, J. E.
  • Prosper, O.
  • Schneider, A.
  • Oplinger, A.
  • Eastham, P.
  • Tatem, A. J.
Science (2020)


As rates of new COVID-19 cases decline across Europe due to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing policies and lockdown measures, countries require guidance on how to ease restrictions while minimizing the risk of resurgent outbreaks. Here, we use mobility and case data to quantify how coordinated exit strategies could delay continental resurgence and limit community transmission of COVID-19. We find that a resurgent continental epidemic could occur as many as 5 weeks earlier when well-connected countries with stringent existing interventions end their interventions prematurely. Further, we found that appropriate coordination can greatly improve the likelihood of eliminating community transmission throughout Europe. In particular, synchronizing intermittent lockdowns across Europe meant half as many lockdown periods were required to end community transmission continent-wide.

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