A recent study reveals that a passenger on an international flight was responsible for infecting 15 other people with COVID-19.
Researchers reportedly used contact tracing to trace infections back to this individual, who flew with Vietnam Airlines earlier this year.
The infections occurred on a flight carrying 217 people on March 1, the New York Post reports. Before boarding, a 27-year-old businesswoman reportedly had a sore throat and cough. She tested positive for the coronavirus four days after the flight, according to the study.
The study also found that 14 other passengers and a flight crew member also tested positive for the coronavirus. During this period, the airline apparently did not require passengers to wear face masks.
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The researchers noted that, among the other passengers, proximity to the seats apparently played a role in the infection rate, Forbes reports.
“The risk of onboard transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during long flights is real and has the potential to cause COVID-19 clusters of substantial size, even in business-class environments with spacious seats well above. beyond the established distance used. to define close contact on planes, ”the researchers noted. “As long as COVID-19 presents a threat of a global pandemic in the absence of a good point-of-care test, better onboard infection prevention measures and on-arrival screening procedures are needed to make the safe flight. ”
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This study came as reports of a small cluster of infections traced back to a March 9 flight from Boston to Hong Kong, in which researchers found four passengers all fell ill with the same strain. of the virus, suggesting that they were infected with the virus. same source, Forbes reports.
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Studies suggest that the risk of transmitting COVID-19 could arise from long flights. Both studies, however, looked for flights that did not yet require passengers to wear face masks.