'Fast moving situation': Australian cities ranked among those most at risk of coronavirus

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Australian cities rank among the top spots in a list of places which have the highest risk from the spread of the deadly coronavirus outbreak outside of China, according to a leading university.

The University of Southampton’s WorldPop researchers analysed the volume of travellers entering countries from high-risk cities within China prior to and after Chinese New Year, giving countries a risk percentage.

Australia ranks 10th, higher than Macau (13th) – China’s special administrative region which shares a border with the mainland.

Thailand ranks first with a risk factor of 15 per cent, twice that of third-place Hong Kong, while Japan is second with an 11.5 per cent risk.

Germany, despite being one of the first countries to confirm human-to-human transmission between people who hadn’t travelled to China, ranks 15th.

A map identifying the cities with the most incoming travellers from high risk areas. Source: WorldPop
A map identifying the cities with the most incoming travellers from high risk areas. Source: WorldPop

In a breakdown of cities, Sydney ranks 12th in the world while Melbourne 14th. The threat posed to the two state capitals is greater than the major Asian hubs of Ho Chi Minh City (20th), Manila (25th) and Jakarta (28th).

Bangkok and Hong Kong are ranked first and second respectively.

The major international cities of New York, Dubai and London are ranked 16th, 17th and 19th respectively.

“The spread of the new coronavirus is a fast moving situation and we are closely monitoring the epidemic in order to provide further up-to-date analysis on the likely spread,” Dr Shengjie Lai at the University of Southampton said.

Passengers arrive at Sydney Airport amid the coronavirus outbreak. Source: AAP
Passengers arrive at Sydney Airport amid the coronavirus outbreak. Source: AAP

There have so far been four confirmed cases in NSW and two in Victoria. On Wednesday one case was confirmed in Queensland.

The virus has so far killed more than 130 people and sickened more than 6,000, the vast majority of them in China.

Australians concern over Wuhan evacuation plan

On Wednesday Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced plans are underway to remove as many as possible of the 600 Australians trapped in Wuhan, the coronavirus epicentre.

He announced those removed would be taken to Christmas Island to be quarantined over a two week period.

Australians in Wuhan have voiced their concerns over the plan, which involves those rescued contributing to the cost of the mission.

A man is transported in an ambulance in the city of Wuhan. Source: Getty
A man is transported in an ambulance in the city of Wuhan. Source: Getty

"Will I be treated as an Australian or as a detainee? I am in their hands and can only hope it will go smoothly," Australian Daniel Ou Yang said.

The 21-year-old, who was visiting family in Wuhan when the city was placed into lockdown, said he feared the conditions on the island.

"I know we would be kept in the detention centre and the treatment of detainees is not the best," Mr Yang said.

He said he hadn’t heard from the Australian government in four days and was unsure if he’d be allowed to board a plane sent into China after Mr Morrison said children and the elderly would be prioritised.

His mother has told Mr Yang he should stay in China where she believes he will receive better treatment.

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