Risk of COVID-19 Transmission Aboard Aircraft: An Epidemiological Analysis Based on the National Health Information Platform [post]

Qiangqiang Guo, Jianjian Wang, Janne Estill, Hui Lan, Juanjuan Zhang, Shouyuan Wu, Jingwen Yao, Xuanchen Yan, Yaolong Chen
2021 unpublished
Background: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the type of coronavirus that causes the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), is mainly spread by respiratory droplets and aerosols. This study aims to investigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission on aircraft. This in turn provides the scientific basis for the return of air travel from pandemic to normal conditions.Methods: We obtained data on all international flights to Lanzhou, China, from June 1 to August 1, 2020,
more » ... ugh the Gansu Province National Health Information Platform and the official website of the Gansu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention. We calculated the period prevalence rate of COVID-19 among the passengers of all flights during the 14-day period following the flight, and stratified the prevalence by the seat positions (aisle, middle, window), and the relationship to other confirmed cases (1-2 rows ahead, same row, 1-2 rows behind). Results: Three international flights arrived in Lanzhou, China, during the study period, from Riyadh (MU7792), Jeddah (MU7790), and Moscow (CA608) each. The flights had a total of 700 passengers, of whom 405 (57.9%) were male and 80 (11.4%) were children below age fourteen. Twenty-seven (3.9%) passengers were confirmed to have COVID-19. There were no fatalities and all patients were cured. We identified three family clusters of cases. Confirmed patients were primarily male (n=17, 65.4%) with a median age of 27.0 years. The majority of confirmed cases were seated in the middle rows of the economy class, or near public facility areas such as restrooms and galleys. The prevalence of COVID-19 did not differ between passengers sitting on window, aisle or middle seats. Compared with passengers sitting on the same row up to two rows behind a confirmed case, passengers seated in the two rows ahead a confirmed case were at a slightly higher risk of being infected. Conclusions: COVID-19 may possibly be transmitted during a passenger flight, although there is still no direct evidence.
doi:10.21203/rs.3.rs-934258/v1 fatcat:ulpaqvepbnfvvat3tfrohu5tzi