Durham researchers model Covid-19 spread in refugee camps


Durham University physics and cosmology students are working with a team of UN experts to model the spread of the Covid-19.

Through using computer-generated scenarios, the effectiveness of different potential public health responses can be compared.

Recently this group has applied their modelling to the Kutupalong-Batukhali Expansion Site region of the Cox’s Bazar refugee operation in Bangladesh.

With a densely-packed population of over 600,000 Rohingya refugees, conventional measures such as social distancing or isolation are not always possible.

This modelling was able to simulate normal routines, as well as hot-spots for gatherings such as water pumps and aid distribution centres.

It also highlighted the importance of face masks within certain settings in the camp, and has been implemented by those working on the ground.

The team are now designing a website to allow aid organisations and policy-makers to access their scenario modelling in an accessible way.

Durham’s team is led by Joseph Bullock, a PhD researcher in the Institute for Data Science and the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology. He was joined by researchers Carolina Cuesta-Lazaro and Arnau Quera-Bofarull.


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