Risk of contracting infection ‘very low’ during air travel

Risk of contracting infection ‘very low’ during air travel
Risk of contracting infection ‘very low’ during air travel

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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Aviation Medicine specialists said air travel is the safest when it comes to concerns regarding the possible transmission of contagious conditions such as the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) respiratory illness.

The Aviation Medicine specialists are Dr. Erik Hohmann and Dr. John Chalkley who led other medical professionals from the aviation industry to the first “Burjeel Medical Aviation Congress” in last Friday for the re-learning and update on their chosen speciality which also include Orthopaedics, Crew Management, and Fatigue and Aviation Safety.

Interviewed on Sunday, conference chairman specialist Aeromedical examiner Hohmann, also a consultant Orthopaedics surgeon at Burjeel Hospital Dubai, explained that Aviation Medicine (Flight or Aerospace Medicine) in which those practising in the military sector are called flight surgeons and those in the civilian sector are known as Aeromedical/Aviation Medical examiners “combines aspects of Preventive, Occupational, Environmental and Clinical Medicine with the physiology and psychology of the man on flight; concerned with the health and safety of both the crew and passengers, and the selection of those who hold aviation licences.” The symposium keynoted by Chalkley was organised as a continuing medical education in connection with the “ongoing registration with the General Civil Aviation Authority and the Medical Professional Health Authorities of the United Arab Emirates.”

Gulf Today pursued as among the conference highlights was the “Impact of COVID-19 and the Risks of Flying” inasmuch as the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and practically all governments have been yearning to re-start undisrupted air travel.

On Sunday, Hohmann was asked on what the general public must be informed of and which they must take seriously: “It is strongly suggested to follow general safety precautions as advised by the airline industry and respective governments. The IATA considers flying to be safe. However, IATA recommends wearing a mask at all times when flying and to follow the bio safety measures implemented by the individual airlines strictly.”

Chalkley and Hohmann were one in saying of “COVID-19 tests (taken) within one to three days before flying and three to five days after travel” as recommended by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention “but these recommendations may vary from country to country.”

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