A team of researchers is to examine the response of the Chinese Government to the coronavirus outbreak.
Led by Professor Jane Duckett of Glasgow University, the team will assess the measures put in place in China to combat the virus, which originated in the city of Wuhan.
The study will look over policy documents from the government, as well as Chinese social media and field work in four areas of China – Beijing, Guangdong, Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, and the neighbouring Anhui province.
Reported infection and death rates in China have dropped in recent weeks, with some calling into question the reports coming from the Chinese state.
Prof Duckett said: “We urgently need to understand Chinese Government measures to deal with Covid-19. Rates of infection have slowed down in China but are accelerating worldwide.
“Given the apparent success of Chinese measures, other countries may consider adopting them.
“Yet we do not fully understand China’s measures, which extend well beyond health and clinical management to include policing, travel restrictions and support for businesses, or their effects, both negative and positive.”
Prof Duckett claims the research will assess measures which have worked in the country, as well as those which have created issues, such as vulnerable people being left isolated.
She added: “Anecdotal evidence indicates that some measures have created significant new problems, both for containing the virus, eg closing transport from the outbreak centre hampered the inward flow of medical supplies; and for members of Chinese society, for instance quarantining those infected left dependants without carers, or increasing surveillance and invasions of privacy.”
The team of 12 researchers includes one from Peking University, along with six from Glasgow University and another from Manchester Metropolitan University.
Funded by £300,000 from UK Research and Innovation, the study is expected to take up to 18 months.