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Chances of COVID-19 infection in aircraft cabin very high— Molecular biologist

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COVID-19 in aircraft cabin
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A renowned molecular biology expert, Dr. Casmier Ifeanyi, has said airline operators must find a balance between cost recovery and passenger safety, as the nature of an aircraft cabin is not a foolproof defence against COVID-19 infection even though the cabin air is filtered.

Ifeanyi expressed regret that the Federal Government, aviation managers, health authorities and Federal Ministry of Health were unwilling to enforce social distancing inside the aircraft, warning that COVID-19 was a cold circle-driven disease.

The expert was reacting to claims by the Federal government that social distancing is not needed an aircraft cabin as “it is safer than any hospital theatre because of the purifying procedures air circulated within the cabin goes through”.

According to Ifeanyi, air travelling remained a high-risk adventure in the transmission of COVID-19 and those who indulge in airconditioned living are more predisposed to the viral infection.

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Explaining further about COVID-19 in aircraft cabin, the molecular scientist acknowledged the fact that the air in the aircraft is filtered with HEPA filters, noting that “The aircraft is usually pressurised and enhanced with airconditioning.

“Even though the aircraft is filtered, it is designed to provide re-circulated air and the chances of transmission are very high.

“The only saving intervention in our local flights is the use of face masks, but that is not sufficient.

“We know that the airlines are faced with the challenge of operational cost, but the operators must find a balance between cost recovery and the importance of passengers’ safety.

“Compliance at the airport is still average. On Sunday, I was at the MMA2 terminal of the domestic wing in Lagos; there were no handwashing materials in all the toilets.

“I took a tour of the toilets; there was no single soap to wash hands. When I asked some persons in the toilets, I was told it was because of the high volume of passengers.

“My worry is why our aviation managers, the health authorities, Federal Ministry of Health and the international air services safety are not willing to enforce social distancing inside the aircraft,” he wondered about COVID-19 in aircraft cabin.


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