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India Among 20 Countries Most Prone to Importing Deadly Coronavirus, Says German Study

Representative image.

Representative image.

The virus, which is believed to have emerged from a seafood market in China’s Wuhan, has spread to at least 15 other countries outside China.

New Delhi: India ranks 17th among the list of countries most likely to import cases of the deadly coronavirus , according to a study conducted by a team of researchers from the Humboldt University in Germany.

The study, titled ‘2019 Novel Coronavirus Global Risk Assessment’ was conducted by analysing air traffic patterns connecting 4,000 airports worldwide with over 25,000 direct connections between them. The "relative import risk" for India was found to be 0.219 per cent.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi has a localised relative import risk of 0.066 per cent, with Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport at 0.034 per cent and Kolkata's Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport at 0.020 per cent.

Other airports in that list include Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi.

Explaining the “relative import risk” in the context of the 2019-n-CoV outbreak and global air transportation, the research states, “The spread of the virus on an international scale is dominated by air travel. Wuhan, the seventh largest city in China with 11 million residents, was the relevant major domestic air transportation hub with many connecting international flights before the the city was effectively quarantined on January 23, 2020 and the Wuhan airport was closed. By then the virus had already spread to other Chinese provinces as well as other countries.”

By looking at air travel passenger numbers, the study says, one can estimate how likely it is that the virus spreads to other areas. “The busier a flight route, the more probable it is that an infected passenger travels this route. Using these probabilistic concepts, we calculate the relative import risk to other airports. When calculating the import risk, we also take into account connecting flights and travel routes that involve multiple destinations,” it says.

The virus, which is believed to have emerged from a seafood market in China’s Wuhan, has spread to at least 15 other countries outside China.

The Kerala government on Friday withdrew the "state calamity" warning status issued in the wake of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) scare as no new positive cases of infection were detected over the last few days, even as more than 3,000 people are still under observation.

The decision was taken as the situation in the state has improved over the past two days, said Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja. She said that of the 3,014 people under watch, 2,953 were home quarantined and 61 in hospitals due to minor symptoms of the virus.

The Kerala government on February 3 had declared the coronavirus epidemic as a “state calamity” after a third student had tested positive for the infection. All three positive coronavirus cases in the country so far — reported from Thrissur, Alappuzha and Kasaragod districts — are Keralite students, two of them medicos, of a university at Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.


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