Borders a big issue in preventing COVID-19 spread, researchers find

·1 min read

A group of researchers at Oxford University's Blavatnik School of Government is finding a common theme in international efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Borders are a really big issue," Emily Cameron-Blake told Island Morning host Laura Chapin.

"How is the virus getting around? Obviously its vector is humans, and controlling human movement is going to be one of your biggest advantages."

Cameron-Blake, originally from Summerside, P.E.I., was in charge gathering Canadian data for the school's international examination of government responses to the pandemic.

The study found, in particular, that islands had a high success rate in controlling the coronavirus, including nations in Polynesia and Micronesia, New Zealand, and Prince Edward Island. Those islands put tight controls on their borders, which was made easier by their geography.

"You have very clear borders," said Cameron-Blake.

"You're an island, so you can shut people off."

Dangers of community spread

Canada also holds a lesson in how easily those border controls can be breached by the virus, she said. Nunavut controlled the virus for months but when it slipped in active cases climbed into double digits in the sparsely-populated territory and Nunavut suffered its first deaths from the disease this month.

"The onslaught of cases they've had in the past two months just shows how dangerous that community spread can be. Once it's in it can just run its course," said Cameron-Blake.

With vaccines now available and being distributed around the world, Cameron-Blake said the study has turned its attention to policies connected with vaccine distribution.

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