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How Safe is Air Travel During Covid-19?

Air travel during Covid-19 was banned temporarily as the virus began to spread among different countries. The coronavirus originated from China and spread all over the world over a few months. International travel has still not resumed for many countries but the restrictions were eased over the past months.

The airline industry all over the world is trying to make sure that the passengers are safe in air travel during Covid-19. Also, they are trying to resume all flights that halted due to the pandemic.

According to a recent study conducted by the US Department of Defence, the risk of coronavirus exposure during a flight is extremely low.

The study suggests that only 0.003% of air particles can cause infection to a passenger during a flight. These particles are present near the head of the person while the person wears a mask. The risk stays this low even when every seat on the flight is occupied by a passenger.

The researchers supposed if the plane had one coronavirus patient during the flight. Also, they did not consider the movement of that infected individual during the flight. The researchers conducted this study on a flight of United Airlines Boeing 777, 767 planes.

Also read- The US Might Have Nearly 170k Coronavirus Deaths This Winter, Experts Warn

According to the experts, masks were able to protect the passengers from coronavirus infection. This was also true when a person coughed or sneezed while sitting on a seat nearby.

The researchers found that nearly all of the infectious particles, almost 99.99% filtered from the passenger area within only 6 minutes. This occurred due to the fast circulation of air in the cabin, ventilation of air downwards, and the built in system of filtration.

The experts also estimated that the person will only get coronavirus infection on air travel during Covid-19 if that person travels for at least 54 hours on the plane. Also, that person must have an infected person on a nearby seat.

Toby Enqvist, the chief customer officer of United Airlines said that the findings of this study show that there are almost no chances of getting Covid-19 on a flight.

Transportation Command funded and led this study to test the risk of infection by air travel during Covid-19. The researchers conducted this study for nearly 6 months. They conducted 300 tests over 38 hours period on a plane and also did ground testing for 45 hours.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), they only recorded 44 coronavirus cases contracted during air travel throughout this year. Also, nearly 1.2 billion individuals did air travel during Covid-19 within this period.

According to the experts, the coronavirus infection risk exists nearly everywhere but it is minimum during a flight. The director-general of IATA, Alexandre de Juniac mentioned that there is some sort of risk in everything. However, the risk of contracting coronavirus at a flight is nearly the same as getting hit by a lightning bolt.

The coronavirus pandemic affected every industry this year including the aviation industry. Air travel in the US reduced to record number and still low by 65% as compared to last year. This study might help restore air travel during Covid-19 around the world.

Bisma Nasar

I am a freelance writer and my field of expertise is Microbiology and Genetics. I also write about advancements in medicine and general health.

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