Removing mask for meal during flight ups COVID-19 risk: expert

Removing mask for meal during flight ups COVID-19 risk: expert

Taking off masks and eating while talking increases the risk of virus spread, despite planes being equipped with HEPA filters, an expert has said. (SOPA Images/REUTERS/ANTARA)

We all need to learn and adjust, the community, officers, and public policymakers
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Taking off masks, eating, and talking during a flight can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission, Professor Tjandra Yoga Aditama from the University of Indonesia's Faculty of Medicine (FKUI) has said.

 

"Taking off masks and eating while talking certainly increases the risk of virus spread, even though the plane is equipped with HEPA filters and such," Aditama told Antara here on Saturday.

 

On some travel routes, airlines distribute food and drinks to passengers, he pointed out. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have begun including messages with the meals, requesting people not to consume food and drinks on board, he said.


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Airlines are advising passengers to take the food home, he added. Even so, Aditama said he cannot blame people for consuming food on the plane.

 

Aditama, who also serves as the Post Graduate Director for YARSI University, reminded people to travel safely amid the recent decline in COVID-19 cases. Several adjustments are necessary for living with COVID-19, he added.

 

"We all need to learn and adjust, the community, officers, and public policymakers," he affirmed.

 

People traveling by plane need to take an antigen swab test a few days before departure and when returning home, they will have to undergo a PCR test, he noted.



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According to him, the PCR test has become the gold standard with the highest level of accuracy. Negative results of PCR tests provide higher assurance of prevention of COVID-19 transmission, he added.

 

When queuing during boarding flights, people must keep at least one-meter distance from others, he said.

 

He further said that he does not recommend that passengers be asked to remove their masks during identification card checks (KTP) and while buying plane tickets, although officers at times make such requests to confirm their identities.

"Opening the mask even for a short time increases the risk of spread. It is good not to do it, " he warned.



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