India among 20 countries likely at risk of importing coronavirus
Monday 10 February 2020 3:55 AM UTC
New Delhi Feb 10: India is among 20 countries likely at risk of importing the coronavirus (2019-nCoV), according to a study by Germany’s Humboldt University and Robert Koch Institute. An extensive computational/mathematical model for “expected global spread of the novel coronavirus” found India ranked 17th on a list of countries most likely to import the deadly virus that has killed over 800 and infected nearly 40,000 others in mainland China alone.
According to the study, 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.
“Relative import risk” is the percentage of infected individuals travelling from an affected area – in this case China – with another country – in this case India – as their final destination.
“Say, a hypothetical 1000 infected individuals board planes at Hangzhou Airport. An import risk of 0.2% in Germany means that, of those 1000 individuals, only 2 are expected to have Germany as their final destination,” the study said.
“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,” it added.
Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport had a 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.
One of the scientists has cautioned against using this model to make definitive predictions of any sort.