Over 11,000 people potentially exposed to Covid-19 while travelling by air: CDC

Prashasti Awasthi Updated on September 23, 2020
Air Passengers seen checking the flight status while waiting to board the flight (file photo) | Photo Credit: R_V_Moorthy
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“CDC is not able to definitively determine that potential cases were associated (or not) with exposure in the air cabin or through air travel...”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that as many as 11,000 people have potentially been exposed to the novel coronavirus while travelling by air.

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According to the independent report, around 1,600 may have contracted the virus, and thousands remained exposed to it.

The CDC also stated that the actual number of infected people is yet to be ascertained.

Potential exposure

A spokesperson for the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine said as cited in the Independent report: “CDC is not able to definitively determine that potential cases were associated (or not) with exposure in the air cabin or through air travel given the numerous opportunities for potential exposure associated with the entire travel journey and widespread global distribution of the virus.”

Also read: Will ‘Covid routes’ be viable for airlines in the new normal?

She also noted that it is difficult to find people who contracted or get exposed to the virus on the flight as they could not figure out the exact moment of transmission.

The study by CDC revealed that despite all measures put in place to curb the transmission of the virus, it could still be possible inside the flight, especially given the proximity with a potentially-infected person, and touching of shared surfaces.

Low risk

According to another study by Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, the international flight industry has judged the risk for in-flight transmission to be very low. However, long flights, in particular, have become a matter of increasing concern as many countries have started lifting flight restrictions despite ongoing SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

The study was published in the November 2020 pre-print edition of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Also read: Covid-19 makes business class feel more like economy

Published on September 23, 2020
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