Quantifying the improvement in confirmation efficiency of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) during the early phase of the outbreak in Hong Kong in 2020

Jinjun Ran, Shi Zhao, Zian Zhuang, Marc K.C. Chong, Yongli Cai, Peihua Cao, Kai Wang, Yijun Lou, Weiming Wang, Daozhou Gao, Lin Yang, Daihai He, Maggie H. Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Backgrounds: The emerging virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), caused a large outbreak of coronavirus disease, COVID-19, in Wuhan, China, since December 2019. COVID-19 soon spread to other regions of China and overseas. In Hong Kong, local mitigation measures were implemented since the first imported case was confirmed on January 23, 2020. Here we evaluated the temporal variation of detection delay from symptoms onset to laboratory confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in Hong Kong. Methods: A regression model is adopted to quantify the association between the SARS-CoV-2 detection delay and calendar time. The association is tested and further validated by a Cox proportional hazard model. Findings: The estimated median detection delay was 9.5 days (95%CI: 6.5 − 11.5) in the second half of January, reduced to 6.0 days (95%CI: 5.5 − 9.5) in the first half of February 2020. We estimate that SARS-CoV-2 detection efficiency improved at a daily rate of 5.40% (95%CI: 2.54 − 8.33) in Hong Kong. Conclusions: The detection efficiency of SARS-CoV-2 was likely being improved substantially in Hong Kong since the first imported case was detected. Sustaining enforcement in timely detection and other effective control measures are recommended to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-287
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • confirmation efficiency
  • COVID-19
  • early outbreak
  • Hong Kong

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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