Source: Dubai – Arabic.net
After many governments announced the lifting of travel restrictions, many airlines began returning their flights, which were suspended due to the spread of the Coruna virus.
However, there are now increasing fears among travelers that the infection can be transmitted to them inside the cabin of the plane where they are stuck for hours until reaching their destination. These fears cannot be ignored, as travel risks remain, despite the precautionary measures currently being followed.
Here are the most prominent questions on travelers ’minds, and their answers documented by Bloomberg:
Is Corona virus circulating in aircraft?
Yeah. While there is still a limited number of published research on the spread of the virus on planes, an investigation conducted on a plane on March 2 flying from Britain to Vietnam discovered that a passenger had transmitted the virus to about 14 passengers and crew. And 12 passengers were close to the infected, which is in line with the expected spread of the virus as is the case with other coronaviruses.
Regardless of that study, the International Air Transport Organization said, an unofficial survey of 18 major airports indicated that there were four indications of disease transmission from passengers to flight crews, along with four other evidence of the transmission of the virus from one person to another in the plane.
2- Have similar viruses spread on planes?
Yes, including the SARS virus, influenza, and smallpox, which is similar to the emerging coronavirus in the transmission of infections through coughing, sneezing, and breathing.
During the 2003 SARS pandemic, it was found that 40 flights could have been a carrier of the SARS virus, causing it to spread to passengers. Studies have shown that the greatest risks come from sitting in two rows with trips longer than 8 hours.
Another study is currently underway on 20 people who were in a plane flying from Hong Kong to China, and the infected person transferred the virus in the two rows that were sitting in one of their seats on both sides of the plane, and a case of the virus was also detected in the seats in the center of the plane.
Where can the risk of infection on the plane be managed?
People with coronavirus release spray from their noses and mouths containing the virus, which can be transmitted automatically to another person near them, or by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the mouth or eyes.
And these same risks are the risks of transmitting infections in airplanes. The airport can also be a carrier environment.
4- What about the transmission of the virus through the air?
It is also possible that the coronavirus will be transmitted through smaller molecules that emit from infected noses and mouths, these particles remain stuck in the air, and the infection is transmitted when another person inhales it.
The air inside the plane is a mixture of sterile external air, and the cabin air is recycled after being filtered.
According to Airbus and Boeing, the air inside their planes is filtered through “HEPA” filters that can capture small particles such as viruses.
The flow of air inside the plane runs from the ceiling to the ground, instead of walking along the plane from the front to the rear, and it is also divided into sectors, which limits the movement of the particles along the plane.
However, there are models that indicate that airflow can be affected by other factors such as the cabin design and the degree of its fullness.
A flu pandemic occurred in 1979 from passengers who were on the plane while on the ground, and the ventilation equipment was out of order.
5- What do airlines do to mitigate risks?
Airlines are cleaning aircraft more carefully and using electronic payment methods instead of cash.
Companies now rely on the online check-in process, as well as automatic travel bag delivery. Some companies do not offer food, not even drinks, on board.
Aircraft prevented from lining up to enter the toilets, and instead, the traveler presses a button and is then notified when his turn comes.
6- What precautions do airports take?
London Heathrow forces travelers and face masks, and it also marks the airport to leave a safe distance between passengers. The airport provides hand sanitizers on a large scale.
The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Agency recently issued guidelines for safe travel that airports are advised to follow.
These tips include providing contactless technology in the areas of baggage delivery, at boarding gates, and at airport terminals. The agency said that a one-meter female passenger must be maintained throughout the airport, and boarding must be revised to ease the line-up. She also demanded that toilet facilities be changed to operate without touching. It also demanded the provision of safe places to collect bags upon arrival.