Report of Roundtable at the Wellcome Trust, London, 3rd February 2020.

Roundtable objectives:

  • To discuss appropriate social science and humanities inputs that can improve understanding of the outbreak in global terms, including the response in China, Asia and around the world;
  • To identify social science evidence needs and modes of engagement with policymakers and practitioners that could inform preparedness and response over the next period;
  • To foster mutual learning amongst social scientists and historians working in China and other settings about how our perspectives can most appropriately contribute.

The meeting was organised around three thematic areas:

  1. The social contexts and dynamics of transmission and spread
  2. Public health responses
  3. Communication and messaging.

The roundtable discussed the social, economic and livelihood implications of quarantine, screening and other nCoV related public health responses, within China and beyond. The group also explored the implications of societal understandings of disease and risk, and health-seeking behaviour in the context of outbreaks. This discussion covered healthcare resources, and the questions about preparedness and response in other regions beyond China, including Africa, where capacities and political dynamics would be different. Public responses to outbreak-related health interventions was a further focus, including social trust and stigma.