Skip to main content

Modelling transmission and control of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia

16 November 2020
MBI Researcher in world-leading journal Nature Communications
There is a continuing debate on relative benefits of various mitigation and suppression strategies aimed to control the spread of COVID-19. Here we report the results of agent-based modelling using a fine-grained computational simulation of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. This model is calibrated to match key characteristics of COVID-19 transmission.

Sheryl L Chang, Nathan Harding, Cameron Zachreson, Oliver Cliff, Mikhail Prokopenko


An important calibration outcome is the age-dependent fraction of symptomatic cases, with this fraction for children found to be one-fifth of such fraction for adults. We apply the model to compare several intervention strategies, including restrictions on international air travel, case isolation, home quarantine, social distancing with varying levels of compliance, and school closures. School closures are not found to bring decisive benefits unless coupled with high level of social distancing compliance. We report several trade-offs, and an important transition across the levels of social distancing compliance, in the range between 70% and 80% levels, with compliance at the 90% level found to control the disease within 13–14 weeks, when coupled with effective case isolation and international travel restrictions.