Even as more and more corona cases continue to emerge, some lockdown restrictions have been relaxed. In India, domestic air travel was started again, with the caveat that travellers follow the stringent precautions and mandatorily use face masks/face shields at all times while travelling.
Social distancing is important
It cannot be denied that coronavirus will probably have a huge effect on the way we live and travel. Some of the methods used for prevention of the spread of COVID-19 while flying is making the practice of social distancing mandatory on flights by leaving the middle seat vacant, air hostesses and other attendants wearing PPE masks and suits for avoiding infection. There are no in-flight meals anymore and sanitizers have been made compulsory as well.
With the world dangerously grappling with the pandemic, many plans have been put in jeopardy. From vacations to other trips, travelling has been made impossible. The risk of falling sick is ever present, especially given that flights and trains are considered one of the germiest places.
Currently, travelling has been restricted or suggested only for those who have no other alternative but to travel. Travelling in an aeroplane is definitely a high-risk activity given that it's a closed environment where it can be fairly easy for any germ, or coronavirus to spread. The breach of the current outbreak has led to coronavirus infection cases multiplying in numbers with travelling cases, making it a worrying activity.
Coronavirus on Flight
Flying is definitely a risky activity in the times of coronavirus. What we know about COVID-19 is that it’s a respiratory infection, that spreads via infected droplets depositing or spreading onto surfaces you come in contact with. The risk of the infection can linger for anywhere between mere hours to weeks, depending on the type of surface it deposits.
Germs in Flights
There are a lot of these surfaces, particularly on flights, where respiratory droplets from a sick person can linger. Food, lavatory, headrest or even the table you have are all a breeding house of infections. A recent study revealed the scary fact that the back pocket of a seat in one of the dirtiest places on any aeroplane.
While quarantine and proper preventive measures do reduce the risk of transmission, they still don't eliminate the risk entirely. That is why people have been asked to self-quarantine themselves once they get off.
Ventilation in Flights
A common myth about flights is that the air present inside the plane is "recirculated", making it easier to fall sick. This is not entirely true. Nowadays, aeroplanes use HEPA filtering which makes the air in the flights easier and more comforting for the passengers and the crew. Hence, it's not the air you breathe in but more of the surfaces you touch or come in contact with that are risky for your health. The same principle applies to an airport.
Precautions while travelling
As we’ve already established, travelling may not be the best measure right now but if you really cannot avoid taking a flight, the following are some of the precautionary measures you should be taking:
-Make sure you clean and sanitize your baggage, as it is an easy contact surface for any virus to collect on.
-Carry and use sanitizer as much as possible. Even though airlines do a deep-clean and are following the strongest sanitization measures, you should have a good quality sanitizer with you at all times. From the seats to the headrests, use your own disinfecting wipes or solution as an additional protection measure.
-If possible, do not touch frequently touched surfaces like doors, knobs, tray tables.
-Avoid using toilets and washrooms unless necessary.
- Avoid touching your face or your hands and distance yourself from others as much as you can.
-Never remove your mask at any time
-Always maintain social distancing
-Wash your hands as soon as you can after deboarding and follow necessary disinfecting protocols