The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been inspecting around 1600 passengers who have traveled by a flight and have been at the risk of spreading the coronavirus. The CDC has been identified that around 11000 people have been exposed to the virus while traveling by flights. Although the airline industry has been promising safe and low-risk flights, however, there are two studies, which claim that COVID19 can transmit during long haul airline flights. A group of experts from Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) has said that long haul flights are still a matter of concern as many countries have started revoking flight restriction despite the rapid spread of the virus. The federal agency has relied on two international studies, which corroborate the transmission of COVID19 during the flights.
Experts have observed a cluster of COVID19 cases among passengers who have been traveling on a 10-hour long flight from London to Hanoi. They have been able to trace 217 passengers and crew members who have come in the proximity of 2 meters for 15 minutes. All of them have been interviewed, tested, and quarantined for two weeks. Experts have checked their symptoms twice daily during the quarantine period. They have also been given a PCR test on the first day of quarantine and a week after and on the 13th day of the quarantine. Experts have been able to find out nearly 16 people who have been diagnosed with COVID19 infection. Around 75 percent of them have been the travelers from business class along with the patient zero who has been symptomatic while boarding the flight. Scientists have claimed that seating proximity carries a high risk of infection. They have concluded the study saying that long haul flights have an increased risk of spreading the virus and can cause a substantial size of COVID19 cluster.
Another study has been done by scientists from Multi-National Groups of Institutions. They have examined four passengers who have traveled on a 15-hour long flight from Boston to Hong Kong. As per the study, the COVID cluster has included two passengers and two cabin crew members. Experts have said that all of them have been asymptomatic at the time boarding the flight, however, later; they have been tested positive for coronavirus. Patient 1 and patient 2 have been on the window seat of business class, they have been diagnosed with the infection immediately after the flight journey. Patients 3 and 4 have been flight attendants on the flight. Experts have found that full-length viral genomes among all four people with the infection have been identical. There are shreds of evidence, which prove that coronavirus can transmit during the flight. The CDC has said that staying home is the most viable way to protect yourself and others from the infection.