Headlines February 10, 2020
India at risk of importing coronavirus, says study
India is among 20 countries which is at risk of importing the coronavirus, says a study done by top institutes in Germany.
A detailed mathematical model on the expected global spread of the coronavirus was done by Humboldt University and the Robert Koch Institute. It found that India ranked 17th on a list of 20 countries most likely to import the virus. The deadly virus has so far killed over 800 people and infected nearly 40,000 others in mainland China.
The study analysed air traffic patterns connecting 4,000 airports worldwide. Among the airports in India most at risk are Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport and Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport. Other airports in the list include Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi.
By looking at air travel passenger numbers, we can estimate how likely it is the virus spreads to other areas. The busier a flight route, the more probable it is an infected passenger travels this route. Using these probabilistic concepts, we calculate relative import risk to other airports. – Humboldt University-Koch Institute study
But one of the scientists has warned against using this to make definite predictions. “Public health officials and policymakers have to develop an intuition because this virus is something unknown. Models can help you develop an intuition,” said Dirk Brockmann, who is in the team.
There have been three cases of coronavirus in India. All of them were reported from Kerala and all were students who returned from China’s Wuhan city which is the epicentre of the outbreak.
Kerala has put over 2,000 others under surveillance for possible exposure.
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