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Cities at highest risk of 2019-novel coronavirus

A new study identifies cities worldwide that are at high risk from the spread of coronavirus.

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that cause respiratory symptoms ranging from a mild cough to pneumonia. There are numerous strains of coronavirus including the common cold and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The 2019-novel coronavirus is a new strain that was first identified in Wuhan City, China.

As of 29th January there are now over 6000 confirmed cases of 2019-novel coronavirus, across 19 countries, with a total of 132 deaths.  In order to identify the cities at greatest risk from the spread of 2019-novel coronavirus, experts from the University of Southampton have produced a comprehensive report. Published by the WorldPop, School of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton researchers studied the pattern of population movement to assess how the 2019-novel coronavirus may spread.

Analysis shows that Bangkok, Thailand currently faces the largest risk closely followed by Japan and Hong Kong. Using air travel data from regions receiving passengers from the top high-risk Chinese cities, the team was able to establish the top thirty countries at risk, which includes; United States 6th, Australia 10th, Canada 16th and United Kingdom 17th.

Although travel restrictions have been put in place it is estimated that over five million people had already left Wuhan city before the restrictions were in place. With a population of over 11 million people, the World Health Organisation states that it is the first time a city of this size has been restricted.

The 2019-novel coronavirus has an incubation period of ten to fourteen days. The outbreak is expected to reach its peak in approximately one week. At present there are currently five confirmed cases in the United States and three in Canada with numbers rising globally.

Experts continue to monitor the situation in order to provide further updates.

Written by Helen Massy, BSc


  1. GOV.UK. (2020). Wuhan novel coronavirus: information for the public. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Jan. 2020].
  2. (2020). Coronavirus. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Jan. 2020].
  3. Worldometer. (2020). Wuhan coronavirus statistics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2020].
  4. (2020). WorldPop :: China. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Jan. 2020].

Image by nali_wike from Pixabay



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