The effects of border shutdowns on the spread of COVID-19

Nahae Kang, Beomsoo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: At the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, some countries imposed entry bans against Chinese visitors. We sought to identify the effects of border shutdowns on the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. Methods: We used the synthetic control method to measure the effects of entry bans against Chinese visitors on the cumulative number of confirmed cases using World Health Organization situation reports as the data source. The synthetic control method constructs a synthetic country that did not shut down its borders, but is similar in all other aspects. Results: Six countries that shut down their borders were evaluated. For Australia, the effects of the policy began to appear 4 days after implementation, and the number of COVID-19 cases dropped by 94.4%. The border shutdown policy took around 13.2 days to show positive effects and lowered COVID-19 cases by 91.7% on average by the end of February. Conclusions: The border shutdowns in early February significantly reduced the spread of the virus. Our findings are informative for future planning of public health policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-301
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug 30

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 The Korean Society for Preventive Medicine.


  • Border shutdown
  • Coronavirus
  • Pandemics
  • Synthetic control method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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