Australians have been urged to exercise caution when flying, as a health expert claims the deadly coronavirus can spread wildly on planes.
Airlines previously claimed that there was a low risk of catching the virus while flying, adding that there was no confirmed evidence of transmission on aircraft.
Qantas and other airlines have also recently removed their center-seat ban to allow more passengers on domestic flights.
But Lidia Morawska, a professor of atmospheric science at Queensland University of Technology, believes the risk of contracting the virus in the air is much greater than the airlines claim.
Qantas and other airlines forbid passengers to book the center seat after a photo went viral (photo) of a packed flight in April from Townsville to Brisbane
“Any virus on planes can be transmitted because it is a small environment; I don’t know why this virus would be different, “said Professor Morawska Australian Financial Review.
The professor said that because the planes were so limited, the air flows between people before entering the filter system.
“If someone is in that airstream from an infected person during a flight, the person can inhale enough of the virus to be infected,” she said.
Airlines provide masks to passengers, disinfect hands and ensure that social distance is taken before boarding.
Professor Morawska believes that while nothing is guaranteed, wearing a mask “can significantly reduce the risk and potentially bring it below the infectious dose.”
Health professors have since said there is a risk of contracting coronavirus on board an aircraft (photo, passengers at Sydney Airport earlier on July 7)
Health professors advised passengers to wear masks, but said they did not guarantee protection (photo shown, passengers have their temperature checked at Sydney Airport on July 6)
She said that because of the airflow on planes, masks should be of paramount importance.
Dr. Oliver Rawashdeh of the University of Queensland’s School of Biomedical Sciences also warned travelers of the risk of flying.
He said it was clear that coronavirus can be transmitted through the air and air conditioning services, making aircraft no exception.
“As a scientist, I wouldn’t put myself on a plane at this point unless it was really necessary, such as for a family emergency,” he said.
Last month, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, described the risk of contracting COVID-19 on flights as “low.”
“Airlines, domestic airlines, especially short haul airlines, have a fairly low transmission risk because of their air handling,” he said.
Last month, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy described the risk of contracting COVID-19 on flights as ‘low’ (pictured, NSW police officers watch as passengers disembark at Sydney Airport on July 6)
“We have not seen a clear case of transmission of the virus on a domestic flight in Australia. So while the airlines initially practiced a good distance, they now occupy their seats more fully, and I know this is one of the circumstances where we think it’s not an unreasonable choice if someone chooses to wear a mask. ‘
In April, airlines like Qantas banned passengers from booking the center seat after a photo went viral with a full domestic flight.
But a month later, Qantas announced that the policy would not be continued for financial reasons.
Airline CEO Alan Joyce previously said there was a “low risk” of catching the virus on airplanes because of the cabin air pressure.
It comes as a woman in her thirties who tested positive after flying to Victoria from Sydney, was revealed on Tuesday.
The passenger boarded flight JQ506 in Melbourne on Saturday before testing positive for COVID-19 in New South Wales.
NSW Health said they contact travelers who were on the run from the woman. Close contacts are required to isolate for two weeks.
Passengers in rows 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 have been identified as close contacts.
NSW Health said the woman is isolated and contact tracking is ongoing.
Another flight from Jakarta to Sydney also had a positive passenger after landing on July 22.
It comes as a woman in her thirties who tested positive after flying to Victoria from Sydney (photo, passengers wear masks while picking up their luggage at Sydney Airport on July 9)