Category: Research Papers


An epidemiological model is developed for the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa. A variant of the classical compartmental SEIR model, called the SEIQRDP model, is used. As South Africa is still in the early phases of the global COVID-19 pandemic with the confirmed infectious cases not having peaked, the SEIQRDP model is first parameterized on data for Germany, Italy, and South Korea – countries for which the number of infectious cases are well past their peaks. Good fits are achieved with reasonable predictions of where the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases, deaths, and recovered cases will end up and by when. South African data for the period from 23 March to 8 May 2020 is then used to obtain SEIQRDP model parameters. It is found that the model fits the initial disease progression well, but that the long-term predictive capability of the model is rather poor. The South African SEIQRDP model is subsequently recalculated with the basic reproduction number constrained to reported values. The resulting model fits the data well, and long-term predictions appear to be reasonable. The South African SEIQRDP model predicts that the peak in the number of confirmed infectious individuals will occur at the end of October 2020, and that the total number of deaths will range from about 10,000 to 90,000, with a nominal value of about 22,000. All of these predictions are heavily dependent on the disease control measures in place, and the adherence to these measures. These predictions are further shown to be particularly sensitive to parameters used to determine the basic reproduction number. The future aim is to use a feedback control approach together with the South African SEIQRDP model to determine the epidemiological impact of varying lockdown levels proposed by the South African Government.


Contact: Ian Craig

Other participants:

External website:

Tags: modeling

Keywords: Compartmental model, COVID-19, Epidemiology, SARS-CoV-2, SEIQRDP model.