Synchronized nonpharmaceutical interventions for the control of COVID-19

Bing Zhang, Shiwen Liang, Gang Wang, Chi Zhang, Cai Chen, Min Zou, Wei Shen, Haoyu Long, Daihai He, Yuelong Shu, Xiangjun Du

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The world is experiencing an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). In attempts to control the pandemic, a range of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) has been implemented worldwide. However, the effect of synchronized NPIs for the control of COVID-19 at temporal and spatial scales has not been well studied. Therefore, a meta-population model that incorporates essential nonlinear processes was constructed to uncover the transmission characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 and then assess the effectiveness of synchronized NPIs on COVID-19 dynamics in China. Regional synchronization of NPIs was observed in China, and it was found that a combination of synchronized NPIs (the travel restrictions, the social distancing and the infection isolation) prevented 93.7% of SARS-CoV-2 infections. The use of synchronized NPIs at the time of the Wuhan lockdown may have prevented as much as 38% of SARS-CoV-2 infections, compared with the unsynchronized scenario. The interconnectivity of the epicenter, the implementation time of synchronized NPIs, and the number of regions considered all affected the performance of synchronized NPIs. The results highlight the importance of using synchronized NPIs in high-risk regions for the control of COVID-19 and shed light on effective strategies for future pandemic responses.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 May 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Infection isolation
  • Nonpharmaceutical interventions
  • Social distancing
  • Synchronization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics

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