A new report by researchers in Ireland links one flight to 59 cases of coronavirus.
Ireland Flight Linked To Coronavirus Spread
The flight took place over the summer, though researchers have not divulged the date or airline. But we do know several things about the flight:
- The load factor was 17%
- 13 of the 49 passengers onboard tested positive for COVID-19
- The age of the 13 flight cases ranged from 1 to 65 years with a median age of 23 years
- Each passenger transferred via a large international airport
- Passengers originated in three different continents
- Those 13 passengers went on to infect 46 people in Ireland
- Masks were utilized by at least nine of the 13 passengers
- nine passengers were verified to have worn masks
- one child did not wear a mask
- three passengers “may or may not” have worn a mask
After the flight, the first onset of symptoms occurred two days after arrival while the latest case in the entire outbreak occurred 17 days after the flight. 12 of the 13 flight cases were symptomatic. No deaths were reported from the outbreak.
Despite only 49 passengers onboard, the virus spread. A seat map reveals where passengers sat onboard:
Interestingly, the report notes:
“Four of the flight cases were not seated next to any other positive case, had no contact in the transit lounge, wore face masks in-flight and would not be deemed close contacts under current guidance from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).”
Here, “close contacts” means within two seats of one another (in any direction).
This is how the virus spread throughout Ireland form the infected flight, with the largest outbreaks linked to social gatherings:
Based on a 17% load factor with 49 passengers onboard, that puts the plane’s capacity at 288. While a bit high, my best guess is that this was a Qatar Airways 787, which has a 3-3-3 configuration in economy class. Ethiopian Airlines is also an option and has a similar layout, but was not operating nonstop flights into Dublin over the summer. Both flights are about 7.5 hours.
You can read the full report here.
The report notes that “restriction of movement on arrival and robust contact tracing” are necessary to combat against the spread of virus. Already, Ireland has introduced tougher measures including new stay-at-home measures and 14-day quarantine requirements for arrivals from some nations. Sadly, this virus is not going away anytime soon.