Research Portal

July 1, 2022

Population Mobility and the Transmission Risk of the Covid-19 in Wuhan, China

Luo, Minghai; Qin, Sixian; Tan, Bo; Cai, Mingming; Yue, Yufeng; Xiong, Qiangqiang. (2021). Population Mobility and the Transmission Risk of the Covid-19 in Wuhan, China. Isprs International Journal Of Geo-information, 10(6).

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At the beginning of 2020, a suddenly appearing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly spread around the world. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in China occurred during the Spring Festival when a large number of migrants traveled between cities, which greatly increased the infection risk of COVID-19 across the country. Financially supported by the Wuhan government, and based on cellphone signaling data from Unicom (a mobile phone carrier) and Baidu location-based data, this paper analyzed the effects that city dwellers, non-commuters, commuters, and people seeking medical services had on the transmission risk of COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic in Wuhan. The paper also evaluated the effects of the city lockdown policy on the spread of the pandemic outside and inside Wuhan. The results show that although the daily business activities in the South China Seafood Wholesale Market and nearby commuters' travel behaviors concentrated in the Hankou area, a certain proportion of these people were distributed in the Wuchang and Hanyang areas. The areas with relatively high infection risks of COVID-19 were scattered across Wuhan during the early outbreak of the pandemic. The lockdown in Wuhan closed the passageways of external transport at the very beginning, largely decreasing migrant population and effectively preventing the spread of the pandemic to the outside. However, the Wuhan lockdown had little effect on preventing the spread of the pandemic within Wuhan at that time. During this period, a large amount of patients who went to hospitals for medical services were exposed to a high risk of cross-infection without precaution awareness. The pandemic kept dispersing in three towns until the improvement of the capacity of medical treatment, the management of closed communities, the national support to Wuhan, and the implementation of a series of emergency responses at the same time. The findings in this paper reveal the spatiotemporal features of the dispersal of infection risk of COVID-19 and the effects of the prevention and control measures during the early days of the pandemic. The findings were adopted by the Wuhan government to make corresponding policies and could also provide supports to the control of the pandemic in the other regions and countries.


Covid-19; Covid-19 Pandemic; Sars-cov-2; Seafood Markets; Pandemics; Cell Phones; City Dwellers; Wuhan (china); Big Data; Novel Coronavirus; Population Mobility; Risk Analysis; Zika Virus; Diseases; Africa; Impact; Ebola; Spain; Passageways; Smartphones; Investigations; Disease Control; Emergency Response; Health Services; Viral Diseases; Policies; Outbreaks; Emergency Preparedness; Risk; Seafood; Coronaviruses; Medical Treatment; Transmission; Commuting; Dispersion; Dispersal; Infections; Cross-infection; Epidemics; Health Risks; Disease Transmission; China