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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Nearly 11,000 passengers potentially exposed to the virus on US flights: CDC

A study, published by the CDC, suggests that despite the protocols followed by airlines, transmission of the virus could be possible inside the flight, given the proximity with a potentially-infected person, and touching of shared surfaces

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 22, 2020 10:06:11 pm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), travelling in flights, transmission of coronavirus in flights, COVID-19, travelling, indian express news'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.' (Source: Pixabay)

According to a research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 11,000 passengers have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus on flights in the US. The Independent reports that the American public health body has identified that thousands of travellers may have been at risk, upon investigation of as many as 1,600 cases of people who flew while they were infected.

The CDC has, however, said that it is “unable to identify how many people contracted the virus while on flights due to a lack of data”. “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,” a spokesperson for the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine was quoted as saying.

She further said that it could be difficult to prove people exposed to COVID-19 while flying — who then tested positive — actually contracted the infection while on the aircraft, as figuring out the exact moment of transmission is difficult.

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The study, published by the CDC, suggests that despite the precautions taken and protocols followed by airlines, transmission of the virus could be possible inside the flight, especially given the proximity with a potentially-infected person, and touching of shared surfaces.

It is purportedly based on evidence collected on an evacuation flight from Milan, Italy, to Incheon, South Korea, and at the government quarantine facility where passengers were taken after landing, the outlet reports. Before they boarded the flight, the passengers were checked for temperature, along with other physical examinations and medical interviews.

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While 11 passengers who exhibited symptoms were removed from the flight, 299 asymptomatic passengers were permitted to board the flight to South Korea, reports The Independent. Most passengers wore the N95 respirators at all times, except for when they had to have their meals, and when using the toilet during the flight, as per the study.

The passengers were taken to a government facility to quarantine when they reached South Korea. One woman, however — who had quarantined prior to the flight and tested negative upon arrival — tested positive 14 days later. The scientists came to the conclusion that she could only have contracted the virus on the plane — with the toilet being identified as the most likely place of transmission.

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