In-flight transmission of wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and the outbreak potential of imported clusters of COVID-19: a review of published evidence.
ABSTRACT: International air travel has been highlighted as a concern since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic with respect to importation of cases. We summarise the available evidence for in-flight transmission of wild type SARS-CoV-2 during 2020, and for imported COVID-19 clusters to cause outbreaks. This paper provides a data baseline prior to the emergence of new mutations causing SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, whose characteristics may increase the potential risk of in-flight transmission and imported outbreaks. The evidence on in-flight transmission of wild-type SARS-CoV-2 is limited, and is described in a small number of published reports. Most of the available evidence pertains to the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, during a period without non-pharmaceutical interventions such as distancing and in-flight mask wearing. There is considerable potential for outbreaks of COVID-19 from imported cases or clusters when public health guidance around quarantine of travellers and self-isolation of cases is not adhered to. Risks can be mitigated by measures such as: avoiding non-essential travel, targeted testing and quarantine of travellers from high incidence regions or regions of concern, managed quarantine processes, and protocols for rapid investigation and control of transmission from a possible variant of concern. Measures should be dynamically assessed and proportionate to the level of risk.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC8379567 | BioStudies |