The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a new report suggesting that the novel coronavirus can be spread on airplanes by asymptomatic carriers.
“We conducted a cohort study in a controlled environment to measure asymptomatic transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 on a flight from Italy to South Korea,” the study’s abstract reads. “Our results suggest that stringent global regulations are necessary for the prevention of transmission of this virus on aircraft.”
The Tests on Asymptomatic Patients
Researchers examined evidence of in-flight transmission of COVID-19 by asymptomatic patients, as explained by Fox News. In-flight transmission by symptomatic carriers has been well established.
“On March 31, 2020, we enrolled in our study 310 passengers who boarded an evacuation flight from Milan, Italy, to South Korea. This evacuation flight was conducted under strict infection control procedures by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), based on the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO),” the study explains.
After physical examinations, medical interviews, and body temperature checks outside the airport before boarding, eleven symptomatic passengers were denied entry.
During the flight, the passengers wore N95 respirator masks except while eating and using the restroom. The passengers were also kept two meters apart during preboarding.
“After an 11-hour flight, 299 asymptomatic passengers arrived in South Korea and were immediately quarantined for 2 weeks at a government quarantine facility in which the passengers were completely isolated from one another,” the study reads.
They underwent an examination twice daily for elevated body temperature and symptoms of COVID-19.
All passengers underwent tests for the virus by reverse transcription PCR twice. They took the first test on quarantine day 1 (April 2). Then, they took the second on quarantine day 14 (April 15), says the study.
New CDC study provides evidence of asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 on an airplane. Masks should be worn during the flight. Physical distance should be maintained before boarding and after dis… | @scoopit https://t.co/XFlzOXgdP5
— Emilio Mordini (@emiliomordini) August 25, 2020
The study concluded that the research “provides evidence of asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 on an airplane. Further attention is warranted to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 on aircraft.”
“Our results suggest that stringent global regulations for the prevention of COVID-19 transmission on aircraft can prevent public health emergencies,” the conclusion added.
The research’s findings suggest the following strategies for the prevention of the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 on an aircraft:
- Wear masks during the flight.
- Since “contact with contaminated surfaces increases the risk for transmission,” people must practice proper hand hygiene.
- Maintain physical distance before boarding and after disembarking from the aircraft.
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