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Background: As of August 2021, every region of the world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 196,000,000 cases worldwide. Methods: We analysed COVID-19 cases among travellers from mainland China to different regions and countries, comparing the region- and country-specific rates of detected and confirmed cases per flight volume to estimate the relative sensitivity of surveillance in different regions and countries. Results: Although travel restrictions from Wuhan City and other cities across China may have reduced the absolute number of travellers to and from China, we estimated that up to 70% (95% CI: 54% - 80%) of imported cases could remain undetected relative to the sensitivity of surveillance in Singapore. The percentage of undetected imported cases rises to 75% (95% CI 66% - 82%) when comparing to the surveillance sensitivity in multiple countries. Conclusions: Our analysis shows that a large number of COVID-19 cases remain undetected across the world. These undetected cases potentially resulted in multiple chains of human-to-human transmission outside mainland China.

Original publication

DOI

10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15805.2

Type

Journal article

Journal

Wellcome Open Research

Publisher

F1000 Research Ltd

Publication Date

13/09/2021

Volume

5

Pages

143 - 143