Coronavirus (Covid-19)ThailandTourism

Risk of Covid-19 infection on flights increased due to Omicron

PHOTO: The risk of Covid-19 on flights has increased due to the Omicron variant. (via Business Traveller)

As tourism has been gaining traction until the Omicron variant threw a wrench into the works, the CCSA has warned that the chances of catching Covid-19 on flights have increased because of the more transmissible new variant. The warning has been repeated out to Thai people after a statement made by the International Air Transport Association, the global influential organization of airlines and travel agents, cautioning of the increased risk.

IATA officials reported the risk of catching Covid-19 on airplane flights has doubled or even tripled with the emergence of the Omicron variant. While wearing masks on a flight has been a common requirement since the start of international travel began again, authorities and health officials are advising that anyone on a flight do their best to avoid close contact with each other and try not to touch surfaces that are frequently handled.

Even with the new warning of increased risk, the CCSA reminds the public that visitation to crowded public places such as malls still creates a much higher risk for Covid-19 infection than on flights. While adhering to their suggestions of not touching anything or being close to anyone is a pretty solid challenge in the cramped airplane cabin, newer aircraft use filtration systems of the same quality that hospitals use to keep infection from spreading.

The CCSA also reiterated that the number one thing people can do to prevent infections and the spread of Covid-19 is to get vaccinated including a booster shot. But they also urged people to follow the standard Covid-19 safety practices of social distancing, mask-wearing, and regular hand washing, including on flights.

It often feels like Thailand is caught between a rock and a hard place, as the Omicron variant hit just as the country was reopening to international tourism, Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations have massively fallen, and life was beginning to return to normal with the economy starting its recovery.

Not wanting to obliterate the tourism sector that makes up close to 20% of Thailand’s economy, but not wanting to see surges equal to or worse than the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Thailand when the Delta variant hit in April, officials are tightening restrictions for travellers on incoming flights and trying to contain the several hundred Omicron cases already identified within the country.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.