Airline passengers are likely to contract the coronavirus two or even three times during a flight since the emergence of the omicron variant, according to the world’s leading medical consultant for airlines.
The warning comes as air travelers begin to prepare for year-end holidays and family reunions, and as Omicron has become the dominant strain in the crown in a few weeks and in the United States it now accounts for over 70% of new cases.
David Powell, physician and medical advisor to the International Air Transport Association, which represents nearly 300 airlines in around the world, claimed that the business class might be safer than crowded budget cabins.
As before, passengers should avoid face-to-face contact and frequently touched surfaces, and people sitting nearby should try not to reveal their masks at the same time during meals, he said.
Transportation risks are still much lower than in crowded places on the ground like shopping malls thanks to air filters on modern passenger planes, a point airlines wanted to highlight during the pandemic. Rules such as wearing a mask also tend to be strictly enforced on planes.
Powell, the former chief medical officer of Air New Zealand Ltd., spoke with Bloomberg News on Tuesday about the flight during the pandemic. This is a modified text.
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