Quarantining infected people and their family members, closing schools, and imposing workplace distancing and homeworking can all limit the spread, the study found, but a combination of all three is most effective in reducing cases.

The global number of confirmed cases passed 377,000 across 194 countries and territories as of 0200 GMT on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally, with more than 16,500 reported deaths.

Singapore, which according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) data had reported 455 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two deaths as of March 22, has imposed some social distancing recommendations but has not closed its schools.