Using Mathematics to Inform Public Health Precautions for Controlling Covid-19

Dr. Khayriyyah Mohd Hanafiah

School of Biological Sciences

Universiti Sains Malaysia

Abstract

Various public health interventions were implemented to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) across the world, including disruptive and less sustainable measures such as the strict movement control order (MCO).  In the face of uncertainty, mathematical modelling can be used to project possible scenarios of disease transmission, which may facilitate planning and adoption of important public health measures. This presentation discusses the use of an augmented SEIR model to project Malaysia’s epidemic trends post-MCO, specifically identifying the risk of a resurgence arising from 1) changes in effectiveness of existing behavior and isolation interventions, and 2) super spreader events from mass gatherings and/or international travel. Additionally, we used the model to assess the impact of re-introducing strong behavioural interventions (such as MCO) on trajectories of any subsequent epidemic waves.

KMH

Dr. Khayriyyah Mohd Hanafiah

School of Biological Sciences

Universiti Sains Malaysia

A senior lecturer at USM’s School of Biological Sciences since 2015, Dr. Khayriyyah Mohd Hanafiah conducts research in infectious disease. Her work spans discovery of diagnostic biomarkers and antimicrobials for pathogens such as M.tuberculosis, and epidemiological modeling of global viral hepatitis prevalence and recently, trends of Covid-19 in Malaysia. She was awarded the prestigious Australian Endeavour Research Fellowship in 2017, became the first female Asian Champion of “FameLab International”, the world’s biggest and longest running science communication competition in 2018, and received the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia “Youth Award” in 2019. She is a Young Scientist Network-Academy of Sciences Malaysia (YSN-ASM) Affiliate, co-founder of Malaysian Science Communication Network (MSCN) and Sustainable Palm Oil Movement (SPOM), and she heads the committee for development of the training-of-trainers Malaysian Science Communication Module for increasing capacity in science communication. She regularly writes for The Star, in her column “Science, She Wrote”.