Should I take a flight? UN civil aviation agency issues guidelines on air travel

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In response to fears surrounding the spread of COVID-19, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has published a list of questions and answers, designed to ensure appropriate planning and action at all levels, from Member States to aircraft operators and the general public.

Recommendations for passengers include maintaining good standard hygiene practices, such as covering the mouth when sneezing, and regular hand-washing; and consulting with medical professionals before flying, especially when the traveller has recently visited a badly-affected area, or been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 14 days.

As for the risk of taking a flight, ICAO describes the likelihood of contracting the virus while flying as extremely low, given that aircraft cabins have highly effective air filter systems that remove airborne virus particles, and that aircraft are disinfected between flights, if needed, in accordance with ICAO standards.

Thailand confirms fourteen cases of coronavirus
Thai technicians wearing protective suits spray disinfectant on passenger seats aboard a Thai Airways International aircraft during a campaign which steps up measures to investigate and prevent the spread of the coronavirus at the Aircraft Hangar of Thai Airways Technical Department near Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan province, Thailand. EPA-EFE/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

ICAO has also published a new web area to serve as a single source for civil aviation-related information on COVID-19. Daily statistics on the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak and its impacts on aviation are also made available through the site.

The full list of ICAO’s COVID-19 question and answers can be found here.

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