Coronavirus outbreak: India, 29 other countries at 'high risk'
According to researchers, the most "at risk" countries or regions worldwide are Thailand (1), Japan (2), and Hong Kong (3). The US is 6th on the list, Australia 10th, the UK 17th and India 23rd.
India is among the top 30 countries at "high-risk" from the spread of the deadly coronavirus, according to a study based on the number of air travellers predicted to arrive in the countries from the worst-affected cities in China. The epidemic has so far claimed over 130 lives and infected almost 6,000 in mainland China.
The Ministry of Health issued a travel advisory, saying:
Update on Novel #coronavirus :— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) January 29, 2020
Travel Advisory: All non-essential travel to #China to be avoided.#nCoV2020@PMOIndia @drharshvardhan @AshwiniKChoubey @PIB_India @DDNewslive @ANI @MoCA_GoI @MEAIndia pic.twitter.com/o8E5MADgH0
Researchers from the University of Southampton in the UK compiled a list of cities and countries they believe are at high risk from the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The most "at risk" countries or regions worldwide are Thailand (1), Japan (2), and Hong Kong (3). The US is 6th on the list, Australia 10th, the UK 17th and India 23rd, the researchers said in the study released on Tuesday.
According to the study by the university's WorldPop team, Bangkok in Thailand is currently the city most at risk from a global spread of the virus. Hong Kong is second on the list, followed by Taipei in Taiwan.
Sydney, New York and London are among the top 20 other major international cities ranked in the research, released on Tuesday.
Within mainland China, the cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Chongqing are all identified as high-risk by the researchers, along with the Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Sichuan and Henan.
"It's vital that we understand patterns of population movement, both within China and globally, in order to assess how this new virus might spread -- domestically and internationally," said Andrew Tatem, a professor at the University of Southampton.
"By mapping these trends and identifying high-risk areas, we can help inform public health interventions, such as screenings and healthcare preparedness," Tatem said.
The team used anonymised mobile phone and IP address data -- which helps to identify devices -- along with international air travel data to understand typical patterns of movement of people within China, and worldwide, during the annual 40-day Lunar New Year celebrations.
From this, they identified 18 Chinese cities -- including Wuhan -- at high-risk from the new coronavirus, and established the volume of air passengers likely to be travelling from these cities to global destinations over a three month period.
The team, including researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada, and the China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, was then able to rank the top 30 most at-risk countries and cities around the world.
The researchers acknowledge that their analysis is based on “non-outbreak” travel patterns, but highlight that a high proportion of people travelled with symptoms at an early stage of the outbreak, before restrictions were put in place.
Foreigners evacuated from Wuhan
Hundreds of foreign nationals have been evacuated from Wuhan.
Australia plans to quarantine its returning citizens for two weeks on Christmas Island -- some 2,000km from the mainland.
Japan, the US and the EU are also repatriating their citizens.
Meanwhile, the British Airways has suspended all flights to Shanghai and Beijing, after the UK's Foreign Office warned against "all but essential travel" to China.
South Korea said some 700 of its citizens would leave on four flights this week. Both Malaysia and the Philippines also said they would evacuate their citizens in and around Wuhan.
Hong Kong has also announced plans to slash cross-border travel between the city and mainland China.
Confirmations of person-to-person transmission in Germany, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan - as opposed to travellers bringing the virus from China - have heightened concern about the spread of the virus.