Millennium Post (Kolkata)

‘Empty middle seats may reduce Covid-19 exposure on flights’


NEW DELHI: Leaving middle seats open could provide airline passengers more protection from the novel coronaviru­s that causes COVID-19, a laboratory modelling study has found.

The researcher­s, including those from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), noted that aircraft can hold large number of people in close proximity for long periods, which are conditions that can increase the risk for transmitti­ng infectious diseases.

Based on laboratory modelling of exposure to SARSCoV-2 on single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft, exposures in scenarios in which the middle seat was vacant were reduced by 23 per cent to 57 per cent, compared with full aircraft occupancy, the researcher­s noted.

Lately, airlines have abandoned the pandemic practice of blocking seats to maintain physical distancing between the travellers

"Physical distancing of airplane passengers, including through policies such as middle seat vacancy, could provide additional reductions in risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2 on aircraft," the researcher­s concluded.

The team of researcher­s from CDC and Kansas State University (KSU) in the US used a bacterioph­age a virus that infects bacteria –as a surrogate for airborne SARS-CoV-2.

They modelled the relationsh­ip between SARSCoV-2 exposure and aircraft seating proximity, including full occupancy and vacant middle seat occupancy scenarios.

"Compared with exposures in full occupancy scenarios, relative exposure in vacant middle seat scenarios was reduced by 23 per cent to 57 per cent depending upon the modelling approach, the researcher­s said.

SHIMLA: Amid a spike in the Covid-19 cases and restrictio­ns, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur announced relief for the hotel industry which has suffered huge blow due to last year's lockdown and a worst slowdown in tourists arrivals.

At the Himachal Day function held at Mandi on Thursday, the Chief Minister announced a subvention scheme for three months till June 2021 for the tourism industry.

“All hotels, tourist lodges, tourism units will be exempted from paying demand charges for two months and they will not have to pay late charges and can pay the same in easy instalment­s,” he declared while addressing the state level function.

Chief Minister also said demand charges would not be levied on private schools, as they have also been adversely affected due to pandemic. He also announced interest subversion scheme for transport sector.

The Chief Minister announced a 50 percent concession on State Road Tax on stage carriage for three months from April and also 50 percent concession on passenger tax for three months on taxis and contract carriage.

Earlier, Thakur unfurled the national flag and took salute at the impressive march-past parade.

Chief Minister also flaggedoff 136 dedicated two wheelers for women help desks at each police station of the state on the occasion of Swarnim Himachal Day function at Padhar.

While felicitati­ng the people on this auspicious occasion, he paid his respect to the first Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar, who spearheade­d the struggle to accord special identity to the State.

Thakur traced the developmen­t journey of Himachal Pradesh at the time of formation. The literacy rate of the state was only 4.8 percent, there were only 88 health institutio­ns, 288 kilometers of roads and clean drinking water facility was available in few villages only.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India