Effect of easing lockdown and restriction measures on COVID-19 epidemic projection: A case study of Saudi Arabia

Shimul, Shafiun N., Alradie-Mohamed, Angi, Kabir, Russell, Al-Mohaimeed, Abdulrahman and Mahmud, Ilias (2021) Effect of easing lockdown and restriction measures on COVID-19 epidemic projection: A case study of Saudi Arabia. PLOS ONE, 16 (9). e0256958-e0256958. ISSN 1932-6203

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256958


Objectives- In this study we compared two predictions of COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom Saudi Arabia (KSA) using pre–and post–relaxation of lockdown period data to provide an insight regarding rational exit strategies. We also applied these projections to understand economic costs versus health benefit of lockdown measures. Methods- We analyzed open access data on COVID-19 cases from March 6 to January 16, 2021 in the KSA. To understand the epidemic projection during the pre- and post-lockdown period, we used two types of modeling: the SIR model, and the time series model. We also estimated the costs and benefits of lockdown- QALY gained compared to the costs of lockdown considering the payment threshold of the Government. Results- Prediction using lockdown period data suggested that the epidemic might slow down significantly after 109 thousand cases and end on October 6, 2020. However, analysis with latest data after easing lockdown measures suggested that epidemic might be close to an end on October 28, 2021 with 358 thousand cases. The peak has also been shifted from May 18, 2020 to Jun 24, 2020. While earlier model predicted a steady growth in mid-June, the revised model with latest data predicted it in mid-August. In addition, we estimated that 4986 lives would have been saved if lockdown continued but the cost per life saved would be more than $378 thousand, which is way above not only the KSA threshold, but also the threshold of any other highly advanced economies such as the UK and the USA. Conclusions- Our results suggest that relaxation of lockdown measures negatively impacts the epidemic. However, considering the negative impact of prolong lockdown measures on health and economy, countries must decide on the best timing and strategy to exit from such measures to safely return to normal life with minimum loss of lives and economy considering its economic and health systems’ capacity. Instead of focusing only on health, a balanced approach taking economy under consideration is recommended.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: COVID 19, Health economics, Virus testing, Infectious disease epidemiology, Infectious diseases, Intensive care units, Respiratory infections, Saudi Arabia
Faculty: Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
COVID-19 Research Collection
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2021 12:55
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2022 15:23
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/706914

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