Coronavirus has infected more than 6,000 people – with at least 132 people confirmed dead.
Coronavirus is a large group of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract, and can lead to illnesses such as the common cold, pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Most of the cases have been confirmed in mainland China, because the virus originated in Wuhan.
But now the virus has since spread to multiple countries, including the US, Australia and Germany.
Although there are currently no confirmed cases in the UK, it is people travelling to and from infected countries which is the major concern.
Airports have begun a process of screening passengers for coronavirus.
How the coronavirus attacks your body and what makes it so deadly
Coronavirus ‘spreads before symptoms show’ – how to protect yourself from infection
But if you have to get on a flight, it probably won’t stop you worrying every time you hear someone sneeze.
When someone sneezes or coughs, they shed droplets of saliva. If those droplets fall on you you can become infected.
According to Emily Landon, medical director of antimicrobial stewardship and infection control at the University of Chicago Medicine, the risk of being catching an illness increases if you are within six feet of an infected person for 10 minutes or longer.
Landon told National Geographic: “Time and distance matters.”
This becomes a major problem in an airplane, when you literally can’t get away from someone who is infected.
Safest place to sit on an airplane:
According to the World Health Organisation, contact with an infected person is defined as sitting within two rows of each other.
What is coronavirus? Symptoms of deadly Wuhan virus to look out for
However, people don’t just sit still during flights, especially if they are long haul.
They will visit the bathroom, walk up and down the aisle, open the overhead bins, etc.
According to research by Pennsylvania State University and Emory University, the passengers in window seats have the lowest likelihood of coming into contact with an infected person.
The FlyHealthy Research team observed passengers and crew on 10 transcontinental US flights.
Is it safe to travel after coronavirus outbreak? Government advice explained
Howard Weiss, professor of biology and mathematics at Penn State University, told National Geographic: “Suppose you’re seated in an aisle seat or middle seat and I walk by to go to the lavatory.
“We’re going to be in close contact, meaning we’ll be within a meter. So if I’m infected, I could transmit to you. Ours is the first study to quantify this.”
The research found those in window seats were least likely to get up. Only 43% moved around, as opposed to 80% of those in the aisle.
They also had fewer close encounters than those in other eats.
However, as Weiss points out, it is not yet known the intricate details of how coronavirus transmits.
Even so, Landon believes the results of the study are applicable to coronavirus.
If you do have to travel, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention say to avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
On its website, it says: “Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.”
Also, don’t travel while you are sick. If you are sick with fever, cough or have difficulty breathing, seek medical care straight away.
Source: Read Full Article