University Of Tasmania

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Pandemic refuges: Lessons from 2 years of COVID-19

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 08:20 authored by Baum, Seth D, Vanessa AdamsVanessa Adams
This paper relates evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic to the concept of pandemic refuges, as developed in literature on global catastrophic risk. In this literature, a refuge is a place or facility designed to keep a portion of the population alive during extreme global catastrophes. COVID-19 is not the most extreme pandemic scenario, but it is nonetheless a very severe global event, and it therefore provides an important source of evidence. Through the first 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, several political jurisdictions have achieved low spread of COVID-19 via isolation from the rest of the world and can therefore classify as pandemic refuges. Their suppression and elimination of COVID-19 demonstrates the viability of pandemic refuges as a risk management measure. Whereas prior research emphasizes island nations as pandemic refuges, this paper uses case studies of China and Western Australia to show that other types of jurisdictions can also successfully function as pandemic refuges. The paper also refines the concept of pandemic refuges and discusses implications for future pandemics.


Publication title

Risk Analysis






School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2022 Society for Risk Analysis

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other environmental policy, climate change and natural hazards not elsewhere classified

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