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Coronavirus CAN spread on planes between passengers with no symptoms, new study reveals

CORONAVIRUS has been shown to spread among passengers on planes, even if passengers show no symptoms, according to a study.

The new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based on a 290 passenger emergency evacuation flight from Italy to South Korea in March.

All passengers were screened when they got on and given an N95 mask that they all kept on throughout the flight.

Researchers found that six asymptomatic passengers tested positive at the start of the two-week quarantine upon their return to Seoul, South Korea.

Passengers were regularly tested throughout the two weeks in a controlled environment.

Staff members also followed strict infection-control procedures at the airport and in the air while overseen by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, on the final day of the quarantine, a seventh passenger tested positive, despite previously receiving negative results, the report said.

The seventh passenger, who had been seated three rows ahead of asymptomatic travelers, had only taken her mask off to use the bathroom.

Researchers noted that the same toilet was used by at least one of the infected travelers.

They concluded that, while not guaranteed, it is “highly likely” that she caught the virus from touching an infected surface during the flight.

The researchers also found that wearing N95 masks aboard flights is crucial to preventing the virus from spreading along with hand hygiene, disinfecting surfaces, and working to limit contact during boarding and getting off the plane.

The study concludes: “Given that she did not go outside and had self-quarantined for 3 weeks alone at her home in Italy before the flight and did not use public transportation to get to the airport, it is highly likely that her infection was transmitted in the flight via indirect contact with an asymptomatic patient.”

The study was published in the peer reviewed journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

A validation study looking at a second flight found the same outcome, with three asymptomatic patients most likely infecting one other passenger.

Airlines in the US have been going out of their way to enforce strict social distancing and safety measures, including mask-wearing and new disinfection regimens aboard flights.

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