Mumbai, Feb 12
India is among the top 20 countries likely at risk of importing the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) with Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata figuring in the list of cities, which may be affected due to the disease.
New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has a localised relative import risk of 0.066 per cent, with Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 0.034 per cent and Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport at 0.020 per cent. Other Indian airports in the list include Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi.
As per the study report based on “Berlin Model” of the Germany’s Humboldt University and Robert Koch Institute, India is in the 17th spot, followed by UAE in the 19th spot among a total of 30 countries at risk of importing the virus. Outside China, Thailand, Japan and South Korea are the most likely to import the infections, the report shows.
The Humboldt University and Robert Koch Institute has computed a list of countries at risk of importing the virus after analyzing air traffic patterns connecting 4,000 airports worldwide with over 25,000 direct connections between them.
UAE’s Dubai airports has a localized relative import risk of 0.124%, Abu Dhabi at 0.050%, Sharjah – 0.002%. The Dubai Al Maktoum International posed no risk (0%) of importing the virus.
The report has been based on three factors - Relative import risk, Most probable spreading routes, Relative arrival time. According to the study, ‘relative import risk’ is the percentage of infected individuals who may be travelling from an affected area - in this case China.
The busier a flight route, the more probable it has an infected passenger travelling this route. Using these probabilistic concepts, relative import risk to other airports is calculated, the report stated. When calculating the import risk, the factors like connecting flights and travel routes that involve multiple destinations are taken into consideration.
What is relative import risk? According to the study, “relative import risk” is the percentage of infected individuals who may be travelling from an affected area - in this case China. “Going by air travel passenger numbers, the estimate of virus spread in to other areas, is worked out. The busier a flight route, the more probable it has an infected passenger travelling this route. Using these probabilistic concepts, relative import risk to other airports, is calculated.
The core of the computational model used to prepare this report is the worldwide air transportation network, which has 3893 nodes (airports) connected by 51476 directed links (connections between airports). Each link is weighted by the traffic flux between nodes, i.e. the average number of passengers that travel that route per day.
Definition of relative import risk
“If an infected individual boards a plane at airport A in an affected region, the relative import risk P (B|A) at airport B quantifies the probability that airport B is the final destination for that individual (irrespective of non-direct travel routes). Say, a hypothetical 1000 infected individuals board planes at Hangzhou Airport. An import risk of 0.2 per cent in Germany means that, of those 1000 individuals, only 2 are expected to have Germany as their final destination” states the report.
As of now, the most confirmed cases of coronavirus outside mainland China are in Japan (45), Singapore (28), Thailand (25), Hong Kong (24), and South Korea (23). This is considered a partial success for the report based on “Berlin model”.
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]
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