During public health emergencies of international concern (PHEICs), effective global responses require coordinated action across jurisdictions. During the COVID-19pandemic, countries have used travel measures to an unprecedented degree and in an uncoordinated way. Our Pandemics and Borders Project is analysing a global dataset on travel measures; systematically reviewing evidence of their impacts; and conducting case studies of decision making in Canada, USA and Hong Kong. Our findings suggest limited scientific evidence and principles to guide complex decisions on using travel measures. Poorly coordinated border management contributes to underreporting of cases, increased disease transmission, and unnecessary economic and social impacts. The proposed project will build on these findings to support evidence-informed decision making on whether, when, what and how travel measures should be used. Our aims are to: 1) comparatively review and apply new methods to assess public health risks from travel during COVID-19; 2) evaluate the effectiveness of mitigating public health risks during COVID-19 of specific travel measures under different conditions; and 3) use findings to develop scenarios and pilot training exercises that simulate decision making on managing borders during PHEICs.
This project is a collaboration among researchers based at Simon Fraser University and University of Toronto. In addition, the project team is working with a broad range of knowledge users including the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Canadian Department of National Defence, US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and World Health Organization (WHO).
This project is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The project will commence in October 2021 and will be completed in September 2024.