Modelling the effect of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 transmission from mobility maps

Umair Hasan, Hamad Al Jassmi, Abdessamad Tridane, Anderson Stanciole, Farida Al-Hosani, Bashir Aden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The world has faced the COVID-19 pandemic for over two years now, and it is time to revisit the lessons learned from lockdown measures for theoretical and practical epidemiological improvements. The interlink between these measures and the resulting change in mobility (a predictor of the disease transmission contact rate) is uncertain. We thus propose a new method for assessing the efficacy of various non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) and examine the aptness of incorporating mobility data for epidemiological modelling. Facebook mobility maps for the United Arab Emirates are used as input datasets from the first infection in the country to mid-Oct 2020. Dataset was limited to the pre-vaccination period as this paper focuses on assessing the different NPIs at an early epidemic stage when no vaccines are available and NPIs are the only way to reduce the reproduction number (R0). We developed a travel network density parameter βt to provide an estimate of NPI impact on mobility patterns. Given the infection-fatality ratio and time lag (onset-to-death), a Bayesian probabilistic model is adapted to calculate the change in epidemic development with βt. Results showed that the change in βt clearly impacted R0. The three lockdowns strongly affected the growth of transmission rate and collectively reduced R0 by 78% before the restrictions were eased. The model forecasted daily infections and deaths by 2% and 3% fractional errors. It also projected what-if scenarios for different implementation protocols of each NPI. The developed model can be applied to identify the most efficient NPIs for confronting new COVID-19 waves and the spread of variants, as well as for future pandemics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-418
Number of pages19
JournalInfectious Disease Modelling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Epidemiological modelling
  • Mobility maps
  • Non-pharmaceutical interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Applied Mathematics


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