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respiratory infections are transmitted by aerosol and droplets in close contact.


We investigated global incidence after implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) against COVID-19 in March 2020.


We surveyed detections from laboratories and surveillance systems (national or regional) across the world from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 and compared them with cases from corresponding months between 2017 and 2020. Macrolide-resistant (MRMp) data were collected from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2021.


Thirty-seven sites from 21 countries in Europe, Asia, America and Oceania submitted valid datasets (631,104 tests). Among the 30,617 detections, 62.39% were based on direct test methods (predominantly PCR), 34.24% on a combination of PCR and serology (no distinction between methods) and 3.37% on serology alone (only IgM considered). In all countries, incidence by direct test methods declined significantly after implementation of NPIs with a mean of 1.69% (SD ± 3.30) compared with 8.61% (SD ± 10.62) in previous years (p < 0.01). Detection rates decreased with direct but not with indirect test methods (serology) (–93.51% vs + 18.08%; p < 0.01). Direct detections remained low worldwide throughout April 2020 to March 2021 despite widely differing lockdown or school closure periods. Seven sites (Europe, Asia and America) reported MRMp detections in one of 22 investigated cases in April 2020 to March 2021 and 176 of 762 (23.10%) in previous years (p = 0.04).


This comprehensive collection of detections worldwide shows correlation between COVID-19 NPIs and significantly reduced detection numbers.


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