File image of an Air Transat A330-200 C-GTSI
File image of an Air Transat A330-200 C-GTSI

Every passenger onboard two flights told they’ve been potentially exposed to Covid

Two planeloads of people told to monitor symptoms

Helen Coffey
Monday 18 January 2021 12:28
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Every single passenger onboard two separate Air Transat flights have been told they have potentially been exposed to Covid-19.

The two services, both flying from the Caribbean island of Haiti to Montreal in Canada, had such high rates of infection onboard that all travellers were deemed to be at risk, reports the Toronto Sun.

Once someone who has been on a flight reports testing positive for coronavirus, Health Canada normally identifies and notifies those who had been seated in specific nearby rows.

Although the number of passengers onboard flights TS663 and TS665 who tested positive haven’t been revealed, it was enough that all passengers, regardless of where they were sitting on the aircraft, have been contacted.

Travellers have been told to monitor their health for two weeks and to self-isolate immediately if they develop any symptoms of the virus.

As of 7 January, travellers entering Canada have been required to show evidence of a negative Covid test result.

However, Haiti was made an exception to this rule due to limited testing capacity.

January has been the worst month so far in terms of new coronavirus cases in the country, prompting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to say he hasn't ruled out an international travel ban.

The aviation industry has been vocal in its arguments that flying poses a low risk of catching coronavirus.

Research published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) claimed that contracting Covid on a flight is less likely than being struck by lightning.

Iata stated that between January and July 2020 there had been just 44 cases where coronavirus was thought to have been transmitted during a flight. This number included confirmed, probable and potential cases.

However, there have also been prominent examples of travellers becoming infected with the virus while on an aircraft.

A passenger who had tested negative for coronavirus before a flight went on to infect four others during the journey, according to a medical report published in November.

A total of seven passengers sitting in relatively close proximity to one another ultimately tested positive for Covid-19 following the flight, stated the report from New Zealand’s Institute of Environmental Science and Research.

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