British scientists have published a map showing how rapidly the coronavirus could spread in the coming months. It was made based on telephone data and flight dates of 59,912 passengers traveling from Wuhan to 382 cities outside China in the two weeks before the city went into lockdown. Eight hundred thirty-four of them were infected.
It was the University of Southampton’s WorldPop project that mapped it all out. It used mobile phone location data with apps from Chinese technology company Baidu and international flight schedules to predict how the coronavirus might spread between January and April this year.
“The lockdown in Wuhan was probably not established until most people had already left the city to celebrate the Chinese New Year,” according to the scientists. They traveled to neighboring and other major cities in China, and many of them were likely to have symptoms from an early stage of the outbreak. If there was a second outbreak in one of those 17 secondary cities, it could spread to yet other towns in and outside of China.
According to Wuhan authorities, an estimated 5 million people would leave the city in the two weeks before the lockdown on January 23. Where those travelers all went and how high the risk is that they will spread the virus further in and outside China remains an open question, according to WorldPop.
There were also 59,912 air passengers departing from Wuhan in the two weeks before the lockdown. Eight hundred thirty-four were infected with the virus. They traveled to 382 cities outside of China. “The majority of those cities were in Asia, but there were also large cities in Europe, the United States and Australia,” it sounds.
The researchers, therefore, recommend that travelers should be appropriately screened at departure points where there is a high risk, and indeed until April. Only then could a further spread of the virus be curbed. “The virus will likely spread even further in and outside of China, so all countries should be ready to take measures to curb the virus,” it continues.
In the meantime, 910 deaths have been recorded since the outbreak of the virus in December. More than 40,000 people have already been infected, the lion’s share in China. But a few cases have already been established in many countries including, the united states, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and some African countries.