More and more countries are jumping from orange to yellow, and we are all too happy to take the plane to our favorite holiday country this summer. But corona is still among us, and how easy (or hard) is it to get infected during your flight? The RIVM also wondered this. That’s why they researched it.
If someone infected with the corona virus is on the plane, people in the three rows in front and behind it could contract the virus. The virus probably cannot spread beyond three rows, researchers think. And the further away someone is from the passenger, the smaller the risk. According to the researchers, people are also more at risk in unventilated spaces of the same size. In total, there are seven rows, including the row where the infected person is seated.
Coronavirus in the plane
RIVM conducted the study together with research institute Royal NLR. By putting puppets on airplanes, they were able to measure how far the virus spreads. Normally that is three rows to the front and back, but the risk increases if someone spreads more virus particles than average. The researchers call such a person a super secretor, or a super spreader. If the flight is longer, there is also more risk. And the masks help: when the passengers wear them, there is less risk of contamination.
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In every 11 to 33 flights, an infectious passenger could have come aboard, the researchers estimate. Of those passengers on board, it is estimated that less than 3 percent are super-separators.
Corona measures before and during flight
All kinds of measures apply during flights to ensure that no one who is infected gets on the plane. For example, a health certificate is mandatory and travelers from very high-risk areas must also hand over an antigen rapid test of up to 24 hours old before boarding. Without a negative test result, passengers are not allowed to board aircraft.
But the necessary measures have also been taken in the aircraft itself. For example, almost all aircraft cabins are well ventilated, and the mask obligation continues to apply. From June 26, next Saturday, those caps can be taken off almost everywhere, except on public transport and on the plane.
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