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ATC Watcher
27th Jan 2021, 18:24
Watching German news (ZDF) at 19;00 with a piece on Israel , and there an Israeli medical expert was interviewed about the new UK Covid variant said that in on aircraft from Dubai a single passenger contaminated 184 others in a matter of hours but gave no more details .I cannot find confirmation on Internet other that El al cancelling all flights in and out of Israel. If this is true the whole HEPA filters narrative pushed by IATA falls apart and that will be another major blow to our industry.

the_stranger
27th Jan 2021, 19:12
While I can not dispute this one claim, you would think if this story is true and 1 pap infects 180 others on 1 flight, we would have so many more cases like these in the 1000's of flights since match last year.

Combined with no further information, I would not panic just yet..

infrequentflyer789
27th Jan 2021, 20:40
I would say the same... except for the fact that there are new. more transmissible, variants around since about Nov/Dec. That and the fact that I have heard similar numbers in warnings from personal contacts who are senior London consultants, specifically about the new variant. Bear in mind that those doctors were working the front line of the first wave in London, they've seen plenty of covid, they haven't seen anything similar that transmits like the new one. Read into that what you will, I don't have any hard data only hearsay and anecdote.

krismiler
27th Jan 2021, 23:25
Vaccination is now happening on an industrial scale in many countries which should slow the spread down. Getting a jab will probably be an annual event from now on and vaccines will evolve and improve as more data becomes available. The current vaccines are an emergency rush job but now we’re up and running against the virus more time can be taken to test and develop better versions.

Totally wiping out the virus is an unrealistic goal, at least in the medium term and it’s something we are going to have to live with and adapt to. The price of opening the world up again is that some people will catch the virus and some will die from it but the numbers involved should be manageable. Vaccinated countries won’t see waves of infection and mass deaths with the health services overwhelmed but there will be people in hospitals.

Travel bubbles haven’t worked, they were too fragile and it only took one case to destroy them. However vaccine bubbles could work, once two countries have a sufficient percentage of their population vaccinated, there is no reason why a vaccinated traveller with a negative COVID test couldn’t move freely.

Similar to aviation, it’s about an acceptable level of risk. If the traveller has been vaccinated he probably won’t catch the virus and if he did he wouldn’t get very sick. If he has a negative test result prior to travel he probably doesn’t have the virus but if he does, then if most of the population in the country he’s visiting have been vaccinated they would be protected from catching it from him. If they did catch it they wouldn’t get very sick.

The above would probably be an acceptable scenario for international travel to resume.

ATC Watcher
28th Jan 2021, 07:25
Canadian authorities say there are ZERO proven cases of transmission on an airplane
Well, that is not correct , just go to the New Zealand Covid site.
I am not trying to scare people with false rumors, just reporting what I have heard and , again if proven true will likely be a game changer in our efforts to recover in our business.
The guy making that claim is a Professor in an Hospital in Israel , Prof D, Mevorach ,in an interview to German state television ;
you can hear it here :https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/heute-19-uhr/210127-heute-sendung-19-uhr-100.html
go to 09:00 it is German translated but he speaks in English to the reporter , and yes he is speaking about the new variants , UK and SA .

Asturias56
28th Jan 2021, 07:33
You often get individual doctors popping up with claims - you can't trust them I'm afraid - you have to look at the large scale trials and people like the national authorities & WHO

ATC Watcher
28th Jan 2021, 07:54
You often get individual doctors popping up with claims - you can't trust them I'm afraid
Indeed and the fact that there is nothing reported on Internet about this flight will trend to believe this is the case. Let's hope so at least .

BerndK
28th Jan 2021, 08:19
Just reviewed the original news (ZDF Heute). @ATC Watcher, I think that was a misunderstanding. The medical expert said that the person did come from Dubai by plane and that he infected 184 others. The expert did not suggest where the infections took place or that any of the persons infected was passenger on the plane. It was just an example for a person carrying the variant from abroad into the country and there acting as a superspreader, obviously more contagious than the original virus.

Pistonprop
28th Jan 2021, 10:28
I might be more inclined to believe what I hear or read if it is supported by a significant percentage of scientific and medical experts. What is said by just one or two so-called professionals doesn't set off my panic button. There are many suspect "experts" in the world who simply come out with BS supported only by their own twisted beliefs and their academic titles.

Rossair
28th Jan 2021, 11:43
The New Zealand Evidence is published in the Center for Disease Control Journal Vol 27 under the title

Genomic Evidence of the In Flight Transmission of SARS CoV 2 Despite Predeparture Testing.

The study concludes -

Evidence of in-flight transmission on a flight from the United Arab Emirates to New Zealand is strongly supported by the epidemiologic data, in-flight seating plan, symptom onset dates, and genomic data for this group of travelers who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (passengers AĖG). Among the 7 passengers, 2 (A and B) were probably index case-patients infected before the flight, 4 (C, D, E, and F) were probably infected during the flight, and the remaining passenger (G) was probably infected while in MIQ.. ( quarantine) All 7 passengers were seated in aisle seats within 2 rows of where the presumed index case-patient(s) were seated.

Combined, these data present a likely scenario of >4 SARS-CoV-2 transmission events during a long-haul flight from Dubai to Auckland. These transmission events occurred despite reported in-flight use of masks and gloves. Further transmission between travel companions then occurred after the flight, in an MIQ facility.

These conclusions are supported by genome sequencing, an in-flight seating plan, and dates of disease onset.

ATC Watcher
28th Jan 2021, 13:42
I received now a different interpretation of what the Israeli professor said, the contamination of a single passenger on board of a flight from Dubai had contaminated 184 others, but not clear if that was during the flight ( as I understood it) of after the flight as indeed you can understand his comment both ways.

.

Peter H
28th Jan 2021, 14:08
For clarification: does "after" mean that the cross-infection occurred before leaving the transportation system or within the next X days (e.g. at a conference or holiday resort)?

BerndK
28th Jan 2021, 15:00
The point of the professor was, that one person, who is infected with the new variant, can infect a real lot of people.
"recently there was one person coming from Dubai by plane, who infected 184 others, 184 people infected from only one person!"
The professor did not mention where the infections happened and did not point to aircraft or airport.

from www dot heute dot de
ZDF Heute Sendung vom 27.01.2021
appx. minute 08:00

Rossair
28th Jan 2021, 18:15
I cannot find any report in any medical journal of 184 passengers being infected on any flight.

The New Zealand did find genomic evidence that one or two passengers had infected at least 4 others seated close to them on an EK Dubai to Auckland flight in September. This was in-spite of all 6 passengers having tested negative before boarding and wearing masks and gloves during the flight.

However much more troubling for our industry was today’s interview on the Radio 4 World at One programme with Professor Sharon Peacock.

She is Professor of Public Health and Microbiology in the Department of Medicine. She is also the Executive Director and Chair of the UK Covid Genomics Group.

Professor Peacock says the longer this pandemic lasts, the greater the chance that inside the body of one patient, of the millions of patients , somewhere in the world, a new mutation will develop which cannot be treated by the vaccines.

The news anchor suggested that the clear inference from this was that all borders worldwide should be closed until the pandemic is over to stop the spread of new mutations. Professor Peacock did not disagree.

I believe that this will turn out to be the real reason for continuing the shut down of International flights and not transmission on board.

DaveReidUK
28th Jan 2021, 18:24
Probably time to close this thread, based on an unfortunate misunderstanding.

3Greens
28th Jan 2021, 18:31
Rossair

well that’s not surprising really, it’s her field of expertise. Scientists and doctors would seemingly lock everyone down and close borders until there is virtually zero cases. The economists on the other hand can see that doing so risks a complete tanking of the local and global economy. The government can’t Keep paying us to stay at home and printing money. It’s a balancing act for the politicians to try and judge. Without a viable eco only, of which business, travel, tourism and airlines and airports contribute massively, there would be no money for NHS, VACCINE research etc.
she may well be right. But there is no way we can keep the world shut down In case there is vaccine evasion. The fallout is going to be horrific if the economy doesn’t restart in the next 6 months. It seems to me the world is giving this one last big push to get it sorted along with the vaccines before accepting a certain level of virus circulating within society.

Pistonprop
28th Jan 2021, 18:41
The way I see it is that since cargo flights are not affected and thus goods can continue to be exported/imported I don't think the economy would suffer that much as long as there is freedom to travel within your own country. In the vast majority of countries (there may be some exceptions I concede) the leisure industry would recover quite rapidly through domestic as opposed to international tourism. This would allow more time (i.e. more than 6 months) for a full recovery.

surely not
28th Jan 2021, 21:48
Go onto FR24 or similar and see the numbers of aircraft flying. Yes numbers are down since before the virus appeared, but if just 1 passenger could infect a whole aircraft full of passengers and crew I think it would have become very obvious long ago. This has the hallmark of Internet sensationalism.

Pistonprop
28th Jan 2021, 22:05
surely not, be aware that a great deal of aircraft flying are cargo flights, many of them operated by what would normally be passenger aircraft. I know because we have them every day at our airport. Yes, there are passenger carrying flights too but they account for roughly about a third of the usual numbers at most. Why do you think so many aircraft are parked up / stored around the world? At my (regional) airport alone we have 22 stored at present.

krismiler
28th Jan 2021, 23:30
If one passenger could infect a whole flight then surely with that rate of transmission, rates would rise exponentially. Any cinema or restaurant he visited would result in total infection which would be spread at similar rates by those infected.

We've managed to live with other diseases such as AIDS, TB, Syphilis, Flu, Yellow fever etc without being able to eliminate them and we're going to have to do the same with this one. Shutting down the world for 6 months isn't an option. Vaccination and precautions should keep the problem at a manageable level, total elimination isn't a practical goal at least in the medium term. Closing the borders and locking down just because a single case gets reported isn't realistic. Some people will slip through the cracks and will get sick and die even if they had the vaccine, but in very low numbers which can be coped with. ICUs won't be maxed out and relative normality can return.

White Knight
29th Jan 2021, 03:07
Shutting down the world for 6 months isn't an option

Here at least I agree with you. Sadly much of the world has been shut down for more than 6 months and has put over 150,000,000 people OUT of work. Totally ridiculous and it's carrying on now with the UK closing the stable door long after the horse has bolted:rolleyes:

aussiefarmer
29th Jan 2021, 04:48
I never believed for a second what IATA claimed. Yes modern airliners carry hepa filters that filter 99.97% of virus etc, but sitting in a cramped cattle class seat for 7 hrs (or 17) next to a person shedding virus is a recipe for guarranteed infection - regardless of masks etc.
From there to infecting the whole airplane thatís just plain stupid and physically impossible.

crewmeal
29th Jan 2021, 08:32
Meanwhile the UK government have added the UAE to the hot list meaning EK are operating their last pax flights to the UK today.

blue up
29th Jan 2021, 08:49
Those filters MAY filter out 99.97% of virus particles but that is only AFTER it has passed through the filter. Not to sound childish, but if you fart on an aircraft then the number of people who smell it is roughly the same as the number of people who could ingest the virus via your breath? 2 rows back (6 people) sounds right to me. YMMV. I assume you only need one viral particle to contract a disease whilst you need lots of fart to be able to detect it?

Banana Joe
29th Jan 2021, 08:55
aussiefarmer

This is why we need a sort of electronic vaccine certificate. It won't completely eliminate the risk of infection, but it helps reduce the risk of infection.

Winemaker
29th Jan 2021, 13:41
Experiences may vary. I moved my daughter down to Los Alamos in mid December and had no choice except to fly back. I flew Delta; they had every other seat vacant so I wasn't sitting next to anyone. I wore an N-95 mask the whole time; passengers in the SLC terminal were keeping social distances. This seemed about as safe as it could be made under the circumstances but I was happy to get off the plane. I received the first vaccination about 10 days ago.

osborne
29th Jan 2021, 15:00
Keeping every other seat vacant solves nothing.

My wife and I both caught an unpleasant (non-covid) infection from a sneezing passenger sitting behind us on a long-haul flight.

PilotLZ
29th Jan 2021, 18:25
There are some scientists who take an extremely single-sided viewpoint on this and preach that lockdown should last for another couple of years and some industries and venues should be permanently shut down even after mass vaccination, just in case. It kind of reminds me of the perverted fantasies of building a "locked-in economy" that circulated in the early days of the pandemic, during the first round of lockdowns. That involved bright suggestions like allowing people to work in cycles of 4 days, followed by 10 days of home detention, correction, quarantine. Needless to say, this is practically impossible for many reasons.

For now, one year into this mess, close to 200 million jobs have been destroyed globally. Many, many others are hanging by a thread and will disappear the moment government support is pulled - and government support cannot last indefinitely. More than two decades of progress in fighting global poverty have been reversed - and poverty happens to bring reduced life expectancy. That's not to mention all the countless deferred scheduled treatments, mental health issues affecting a double-digit percentage of the population, exploding domestic violence and all the other great things brought up by the "new normal".

We're constantly being told that no price is too high when it comes to keeping the numbers low. But when does collateral damage outweigh the direct damage from infection? Nobody seems to have an answer for that - and it should be pivotal to any policies.

jugofpropwash
30th Jan 2021, 01:30
ATC Watcher

A further question here - what exactly is meant by "contaminated"? Most here seem to be equating that to "infected" - but IMHO, it's equally likely that they mean "exposed" people who need to be quarantined/tested.

vikingivesterled
30th Jan 2021, 12:57
osborne

That is what the mask is for. Stopping distance spread of droplets through the air.
The middle seat free is to avoid you touching a surface, as the armrest, that somebody with CoVid19 have touched plus minimising the risk from sideways expulsion of droplets from the sides of the mask.
And yes you can sanitize your hands, but will you after every time you have come near the passenger beside you through an hours long flight and and for the whole time avoiding touching your face?

anothertyke
30th Jan 2021, 13:52
We're constantly being told that no price is too high when it comes to keeping the numbers low. But when does collateral damage outweigh the direct damage from infection? Nobody seems to have an answer for that - and it should be pivotal to any policies.

If the vaccination strategy proves to be a failure for example because the rate of mutation exceeds the time lag from vaccine formula to delivery, then you will have your answer. For the last year and the rest of this year the objective in most/all Western countries is to avoid health system overcapacity -- the suppression strategy. That cannot go on for ever. But equally, the new normal may be different from the old normal because of voluntary changes in human behaviour and preferences.

ATC Watcher
30th Jan 2021, 14:02
jugofpropwash

Good point, but I was not in the head of this Professor. I do not know what he meant. One thing is coming up though is that if you are "exposed" to the new variants your chances of getting "infected" are far higher. Maybe that was his message.

an.other
31st Jan 2021, 17:46
I never believed for a second what IATA claimed. Yes modern airliners carry hepa filters that filter 99.97% of virus etc, but sitting in a cramped cattle class seat for 7 hrs (or 17) next to a person shedding virus is a recipe for guarranteed infection - regardless of masks etc.
From there to infecting the whole airplane thatís just plain stupid and physically impossible.

That was mostly about the US Department of Defence. If the US can't safely transport soldiers by air, then they can't invade anywhere. So one has to read their conclusions with caution.

What I can say is that since March I've been on an international across industry COVID safety body, initially looking at the risk of transit passengers in terminals. Since then the scope has changed and increased. Within the company I am trying to make sure that SOPs are adapted to COVID. So I do know more than many.

What I can say is that HEPA filters are pretty effective, but there are other factors.

The three big things are:

1. Community rates in the passengers (quite hard to know) If you are flying between two ports with low rates and few transfer pax, then in theory there is very little risk. NB: Quick tests as part of the security process would really help here, because they do pick up the vast majority of people with a high enough viral load to infect someone. They've managed it in Rome, but clearly there's practical issues.

2. Length of sector, the infection rate greatly increases as sector times increase. The latest I've seen was something like add 3 hours and the risk doubles.

3. Air replacement frequency: In theory cabin air is replaced 10-15 times more frequently than a building at ground level. That means you can be closer to someone with less risk than on the ground. Air replacement frequency actually can vary quite a bit proportionately based on a whole heap of factors.

For crew the risk of catching COVID from pax is lowered by air circulation flowing down. Conversely that increases crew to pax transmission. Masks help but really you need medical grade P2 or higher.

Touch transmission looks to be less of a problem than feared and swab samples haven't found any on cabin surfaces, not that I'm aware of anyway.

So if you're a passenger flying to NZ via DXB from Europe or Africa, then you're facing high community rates and very long sectors, putting you right at the top of the risk range.

I think a big risk for air transport are border rules dampening demand. Health will become a prerequisite to international travel and old school style medical checks (remember when vaccines were an entry requirement for many nations?). Add an expensive fitness tests (e.g. private negative test of x type within y hours - all different of course) and you begin to price people out.

lederhosen
1st Feb 2021, 05:00
Excellent post an.other. I add a link https://doi.org/10.1093/jtm/taaa178 to a article in the journal of travel medicine published in December on the subject. At the start it refers to the China airlines 112 in flight transmission episode, which I have referred to several times on here. The ensuing study looked at the increased risk due to proximity to an infected person.

LTNman
1st Feb 2021, 11:07
blue up

Just asking but what are those filters doing when the aircraft is on stand with the engines off?

SaulGoodman
1st Feb 2021, 12:57
APU on. Why that isn’t std practice is strange.

lederhosen
1st Feb 2021, 13:33
Cost and noise pollution are two reasons for not running the APU on stand. In fact it is often explicitly forbidden longer than for a few minutes before and after flight at a lot of airports.

DaveReidUK
1st Feb 2021, 13:34
SaulGoodman

APUs when parked?

Welcome to the 1970s.

LTNman
1st Feb 2021, 13:49
Nice to know then when I sit on an aircraft with a delayed departure or even just boarding my Covid risk exposure has increased somewhat while the airlines claim I am protected with non functioning switched off filters.

Flying Clog
1st Feb 2021, 13:56
Correct LTNman. Cost above safety. Nothing changes.

flyer4life
1st Feb 2021, 14:05
lederhosen

I would argue that fuel and noise pollution are not considerations while we are in a pandemic.

Indeed, EASA released SIB 2020-02R5 which refers to recommended covid procedures, and our (very cost sensitive) management informed the line pilots that airports have agreed APU can be used despite any environmental restrictions while the SIB is in force. This is in order to provide ventilation and water pressure for hand washing.

The travel industry is already a major target for government restrictions, and we don’t need skippers failing to supply plenty of ventilation for passengers when engines are off.

lederhosen
1st Feb 2021, 14:20
Well I think we can all agree that makes sense.

Flying Clog
1st Feb 2021, 14:54
Sure, but it's not how operations are being conducted at the moment. Sense bears no relation to our tyrannical master's actions. Screw covid, this is an opportunity for them!

FlightDetent
2nd Feb 2021, 03:00
LTNman

Worry less, circulation is provided by means of cabin fans that will run the air through the ducts, filters and all.

SaulGoodman
2nd Feb 2021, 05:14
lederhosen

duh! But aren’t we facing a global pandemic?

733driver
2nd Feb 2021, 06:16
Asked and answered above

733driver
2nd Feb 2021, 06:20
Flying Clog

Do you live in North Korea? Where I live we don't have tyrannical masters. Just politicians who are a bit out of their depth but mostly trying their best to prevent the worst. It's a thankless task and comments like yours don't help.

lederhosen
2nd Feb 2021, 07:31
There is a pretty clear indication that governments can make a difference. I am rather more confident based on the data so far available, that the Israeli approach of vaccinating people as quickly as possible and stopping flights for a while is likely to get the situation under control quicker than some other strategies. In fact I suspect UK Israel flights may be amongst the first to return to some sort of new normalcy, but that is speculation.

PilotLZ
2nd Feb 2021, 08:33
As long as there are some more or less consistent rules of the game, what lederhosen suggests might be a good solution. I.e. no travel restrictions, quarantine, tests or whatever between countries with a similar risk level. And said risk level is based on the choice and implementation of a specific approach. Zero COVID countries, like Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand, form a travel bubble among themselves. Countries with high vaccination levels, where risk is still somewhat higher than zero but a lot lower than elsewhere, form another bubble. And the remaining countries continue with the present status quo, changing rules and restrictions every other day until they do whatever it takes to join the "COVID-safe" club.

GlueBall
2nd Feb 2021, 11:23
It's hard to imagine a quick snap back of air travel after the pandemic. Primarily, because the end of the pandemic will not be uniform across the globe. Many poor countries will still be struggling to get their citizens vaccinated amid a lack of medical infrastructure.

Meanwhile, there's the growing work-from-home convenience and a new mindset of living, working and playing at a nice place where you don't have to fly away from. No need to be hooping back and forth across the skies for a vacation, a business meeting or whatever. Putting up with Covid testing, quarantine, face masks, baggage drills, security checks, visa, immigration controls, long queues has morphed into a debilitating drag on the senses.

PilotLZ
2nd Feb 2021, 12:18
Further to the topic of uneven recovery - it will also be very uneven by sectors, not only by parts of the world. Those who are most impatient to go globe-trotting once again are leisure travellers, those visiting friends and family, students, volunteers and all other people to whom flying is associated with fun and not with drudgery. They've been in forced confinement and away from loved ones for quite a while now and will jet off the moment they are allowed to. Unfortunately, most of those people have relatively limited budgets and the money usually comes out of their own pockets. So, this has implications on the airlines which will recover first and where you as a pilot are most likely to either be recalled from furlough or get a new job. Those are LCCs, leisure and charter. Right after them comes legacy regional and short-haul. Long-haul will be in the doldrums for the longest.

Richard Dangle
3rd Feb 2021, 07:52
Add the two posts above together and you have pretty concise, sensible and accurate narrative on the challenges facing commercial aviation now and for the immediate future.

ATC Watcher
3rd Feb 2021, 09:23
There are unfortunately more challenges to overcome when it can restart , i.e when the vaccine numbers will allow individual Sates to lift their travel restrictions and their different quarantine requirements : the infrastructure. If the current situation continues past this autumn, a lot of mid-size airports will not survive and most probably close. The ATC situation is similar , lot of privatized ATC service providers are deducing their workforce, and sometimes even close facilities ( e.g. Canada, today) . Assuming demand if there again , to rebuilt closed facilities takes years if not decades.
One way out will be for States to re-nationalize everything , but then we are back in the 1970s...

PilotLZ
3rd Feb 2021, 12:30
Or someone rich will become even richer very quickly. If failing airports with sound infrastructure, personnel and a potential for a decent route network are advertised for sale, they will surely make for a far better investment than any airline.

ATC Watcher
3rd Feb 2021, 15:34
Not so sure . Frankfurt Hahn might be for sale soon, its financial agreements end up in 2021 and it has never made any money so far., even when Ryanair was the main customer( they left before Covid ) and there are a few Spanish airports which are already for sale. . Unlike owning an airline , no glory in owning air airport with no traffic,

MCDU2
4th Feb 2021, 09:33
Nice to know then when I sit on an aircraft with a delayed departure or even just boarding my Covid risk exposure has increased somewhat while the airlines claim I am protected with non functioning switched off filters.

Send a letter to the regulator(s) of the airlines you fly with. In my airline our APU is running before you board to purge the air and we shut it down after the last pax has disembarked. Most of us would leave it running for an entire turn around as well even though this is not strictly necessary since our early arrivals and low pax numbers inevitably lead to very long turnarounds. If you only travel on airlines which have draconian fuel policies and operate league tables then you may wish to reconsider your travel options.

Dryce
5th Feb 2021, 16:22
Further to the topic of uneven recovery - it will also be very uneven by sectors, not only by parts of the world. Those who are most impatient to go globe-trotting once again are leisure travellers, those visiting friends and family, students, volunteers and all other people to whom flying is associated with fun and not with drudgery. They've been in forced confinement and away from loved ones for quite a while now and will jet off the moment they are allowed to. Unfortunately, most of those people have relatively limited budgets and the money usually comes out of their own pockets. So, this has implications on the airlines which will recover first and where you as a pilot are most likely to either be recalled from furlough or get a new job. Those are LCCs, leisure and charter. Right after them comes legacy regional and short-haul. Long-haul will be in the doldrums for the longest.

I think a fundamental reality check is in order here.

A lot of us haven't been able to see our relatives where no flying is needed - simply because they live in other households beyond the limits to which we are restricted by lockdown.

Within that context - if the public are faced with a choice - new domestic lockdown as a consequence of inbound travellers delivering a new strain or mutation - or severe international travel limitations - which do you think they will choose? Personal freedoms within your national boundary and restrictions on travel across that boundary - or personal restrictions within your national boundary with miimal or no restrictions of travel across thet boundary?

Vaccination is not a 100% solution - though the adverts of the travel companies would suggest they would like to think otherwise.

One of the big differences between the way the pandemic has been handled is the number of inbound travellers and the control of them. The UK got just about every strain of Covid-19 under the sun - the reason for that was the level of international travel.

It has taken almost a year for the UK government to wake up to this.

It would have been better to have put controls in properly last spring once the seriousness of the situation became apparent. Now almost a year later we finally have organised quarantine.So they vaccinate the majoroity of vulnerable peopel and age groups by May. If they open the borders they are simply asking for successive new waves - not as bad as we have seen - but causing fatallities nonetheless - and in a worst case you get a new strain that undermines the vaccinations.

So the strategic choice is simple. Restrict international travel for the forseeable future and ensure personal liberty and safety and education and the mainstream economy within our borders. Or derestrict internatonal travel and risk throwing the economic sacrifice and vaccoination effort away - and incur extra deaths and have the population put under renewed restraint.

Explain that to people properly and I think we know what they will choose.

PilotLZ
5th Feb 2021, 17:37
Draconian border controls, including an outright ban on all but essential foreign travel, only make sense as part of a true zero-COVID strategy. Think Australia, New Zealand or China. The UK is still a far cry from the adoption of anything close to their philosophy, namely that the only outcome of lockdown that is good enough to accept is zero community transmission. The much-dreaded UK mutation was not imported from abroad. It was a result of local transmission in Kent. Border closure alone wouldn't have prevented it. As long as the thing is running rampant within the country, there's always the risk of an even worse mutation.

So, to determine the correct border policy, a general choice has to be made and adhered to. What's the end game? Are we going to "live with the virus", as the policymakers suggest, or are we going to get rid of it? If it's the former, then the current measures suit the narrative just about fine. If it's the latter, shut the borders, make the lockdown seriously tough and as long as necessary to achieve complete eradication and then only open up to other zero-COVID countries.

...and, if the latter had been done as early as last spring and across the entire EU, by now COVID would have long been a third-world problem and the entire European population would have been enjoying their holidays on a clean and safe continent. Just a thought!

ATC Watcher
5th Feb 2021, 18:32
PilotLZ: shut the borders, make the lockdown seriously tough and as long as necessary to achieve complete eradication and then only open up to other zero-COVID countries.
That is the mathematical models some courageous scientists are putting forward: close all travel , stockpile food , tell/force everyone to stay indoors with a FFP2 or N95 mask on for 3 weeks and mathematically the virus is eradicated.
But that does not solve the problem of how to restart international travel afterwards, which is what in fact is the prime interest of our profession. If you restrict it to countries doing the same , then we cut the world in two, and for a very long time . How to protect illegal entries into "our" world ? walls? military ? A nice science fiction scenario..

Skyjob
5th Feb 2021, 22:35
The much-dreaded UK mutation was not imported from abroad. It was a result of local transmission in Kent.


Not necessarily so, the mutation was DISCOVERED in UK, who knows where it came from before discovery...

GlueBall
7th Feb 2021, 11:12
To all of us aviators it must be self evident that the Wuh Flu didn't arrive in Europe on a springless donkey cart but aboard airplanes.

Irrespective of masks, gloves, goggles, face shields, sanitizers, hepa filters, cabin fogging - Aviation remains as the ultimate global superspreader. How else could the new mutant UK strain wind up in USA? How else could the new South African Covid strain wind up in the European Union?

Let's face it: Until the global community has been vaccinated and has a grip on the proliferation of the Covid virus, international air travel must be suspended.
Cargo crews must remain under escort and in isolation at out stations. It's practical reality.

Lake1952
7th Feb 2021, 13:42
Physician and a pilot here... when you have test positivity rates of 10-15% as has been the case recently in much of the USA and Europe, it is simple math, statistics and epidemiology that would allow you to assume that you are carrying quite a few passengers who are carrying the virus on EVERY flight. Over time, this will be mitigated by an increasing percentage of the population that has relative immunity, either via vaccination or by natural immunity following an infection.

hec7or
7th Feb 2021, 14:46
To all of us aviators it must be self evident that the Wuh Flu didn't arrive in Europe on a springless donkey cart but aboard airplanes.

This refers to the role aviation played in spreading the virus

Irrespective of masks, gloves, goggles, face shields, sanitizers, hepa filters, cabin fogging...

and this refers to the risk of catching the virus while actually aboard an aircraft.

You are quite correct Glueball, the aviation industry seems to be only interested in the risk of catching the infection during a flight and sees the risk in terms of a tiny percentage, while the international community are mainly concerned about the role aviation plays in spreading the virus. I think the aviation industry may be looking at the problem through the wrong end of the telescope.

DaveReidUK
7th Feb 2021, 15:19
Yes, to the extent that the original proposition, even if it was true (it isn't) - that HEPA filters fail to safeguard against spreading on-board infection - is largely irrelevant in the overall scheme of things.

While this thread has drifted - usefully - in a couple of directions, it's based on a misconception. The "bad news for the industry" is nothing to do with what goes on aboard the aircraft.

lear999wa
7th Feb 2021, 19:41
GlueBall

I think that you might have an unrealistic expectation on what these vaccines can and cannot do.
The current lot of vaccines.
DON'T prevent contraction of the virus.
DON'T prevent person to person spread.
But they DO lesson the severity of a virus infection. However considering that 80% of sub 60 year olds have either light or no symptoms, I do ask myself what it is we accomplish by vaccinating this demographic.

PilotLZ
7th Feb 2021, 19:50
Some specialists already admit that we might be barking up the wrong tree with the assumption that population-wide, vaccine-induced herd immunity is the only worthwhile end game. The focus should be on protecting the vulnerable groups instead. As soon as they have been vaccinated, you have the remaining lot who aren't at a particularly high risk of getting seriously ill, overflowing the hospitals and dying. And keeping everyone locked up (now, for the sake of what/whom?) suddenly becomes a whole lot harder to justify.

Lake1952
7th Feb 2021, 22:56
lear999wa

You post a lot of things as fact that are just not known and will eventually be known and probably proven incorrect. And a complete misconception of what vaccines do! You are correct in that vaccines do not prevent an individual from encountering the virus, or prevent the virus from entering your nose. But they are very effective at preventing the virus from successfully setting up camp, from establishing a beachhead. That prevents illness, that prevents a significant viral load, and with no viral load, there is very little likelihood of transmission to others.

Just about every other vaccine in history has prevented transmission of the disease to others. And early studies out of Israel would seem to indicate that this is the case with the vaccines used in Israel, primarily the Pfizer vaccine.

ATC Watcher
8th Feb 2021, 07:47
But the younger ones spread the infection. They don't seem to realize that they can kill their mums and dads.

That is exactly the problem. Look at the videos of the street parties in the US during super bowl last night to illustrate this, seems like teenagers do not want to wear masks feeling kind of immune when they are among each other.

Landflap
8th Feb 2021, 07:59
Loose : re your post 61 : I am in with your "two" friends. Although I do wear a mask, if forced, because I can't be bothered with the agro or chance of a fine . That;s three then but I can assure you, less vocal are , literally, thousands of others. You know of two, now three ; I know of at least 142.. Look at a wider picture and instead of declaring that you "jus don't understand", I glean from your other posts that you probably will.

Pistonprop
8th Feb 2021, 11:30
The young don't think they are immune, they simply don't feel threatened by it. For them it's just a nasty cold and life goes on. Being young they are ignorant of the wider implications as, through their selfish "I'm alright Jack" attitude, they spread the virus among the elderly in their families and friends' families. The selfishness of today's younger society is beyond belief.

PilotLZ
8th Feb 2021, 22:02
According to multiple media, the "vaccine bubble" between Israel and Greece has been officially agreed upon by officials of both governments and is due to come into fruition about Passover time. Maybe that's a preview of the near future, after all?

1201alarm
9th Feb 2021, 11:10
To all of us aviators it must be self evident that the Wuh Flu didn't arrive in Europe on a springless donkey cart but aboard airplanes.

Irrespective of masks, gloves, goggles, face shields, sanitizers, hepa filters, cabin fogging - Aviation remains as the ultimate global superspreader. How else could the new mutant UK strain wind up in USA? How else could the new South African Covid strain wind up in the European Union?

Let's face it: Until the global community has been vaccinated and has a grip on the proliferation of the Covid virus, international air travel must be suspended.
Cargo crews must remain under escort and in isolation at out stations. It's practical reality.

I completely disagree with your doomssay scenario.

As others have pointed out: infection on board an aeroplane is one question, viral spreading around the world by bringing infected people from one country to another by means of traveling is another question.

The infection onboard an aeroplane problem is negligable. If there were significant infections onboard aeroplanes, we would know by now.

The problem of viral spread through the world by travel is also not a factor anymore. The virus is already everywhere, in all the populations, except some isolated countries on islands or under draconian political systems. May be (we will never know) we could have controlled worldwide spread one year ago with draconian travel restrictions, but we didn't. This ship has left the port and won't come back.

Now we have a virus that is basically everywhere, and we have to learn to live with it.

What does living with it mean? It means we get it under control in such a way that it becomes a sickness like other sicknesses, with reasonable deaht rates and severe cases to not overflow our health systems. Covid becomes then a health risk which is a normal individual life risk as any other sickness people die from every year.

How do we get it under control in this way? By vaccinating, especially the risk populations (>65y old and/or medical preconditions). Once these groups are vaccinated, severe cases and mortality will collapse, and Covid has become one out of many health risks. Once a country has reached that status, it can open its borders to anyone, without any restrictions, no testing and no quarantine anymore neccessary. People bringing the virus from other countries won't create surges in severe and mortal cases anymore. In parallel we can continue to vaccinate other parts of the population, to even increase control of the virus.

Subsequently, we have to study how the virus evolves, and probably adapt the vaccines, and it might be necessary, that the risk population gets a regular re-vaccination, like with the flu vaccine.

So in sum: no need to continue crippling one of the most important industries for global peace, mutual understanding between races, nations and economical development.

lederhosen
9th Feb 2021, 12:28
I disagree with your certainty 1201alarm that the risk of onboard infection is negligible. I refer again to a paper from the journal of travel medicine published back in September 2020, https://academic.oup.com/jtm/article/27/8/taaa178/5910636

I quote:
Four well-documented flights (Table 1) describe mass transmission events. Flights A and C present sophisticated proof from whole genome sequencing and provide essentially indisputable evidence of in-flight transmission to 11 and 2 secondary cases, respectively.

There have been plenty of other reported incidents. But this scientific paper presents the facts pretty well. It makes clear why it is difficult to track these events for example because of transmission between people not obviously infected and the need to eliminate transmission which occurred elsewhere, for example in transit or in quarantine hotels. The conclusions I took from this are that risk is related to length of flight, proximity to infected people and not wearing masks.

The risk onboard does however pale into insignificance compared to the spread in the wider population from individuals who fly in and then spread Covid into the community. New variants are a particular issue and the more people that are infected, the more opportunity there is for even more new variants to develop.

The BBC site today has a review of transmission in quarantine hotels and points to some amazing examples from Australia. The largest outbreak was traced back to such an incident with a security guard who was just unlucky enough to be in a corridor near rooms with infected people who had flown in. This one incident apparently accounted for over 90% of Australia's 29,000 cases and 909 deaths to date.

EastMids
9th Feb 2021, 13:28
Seems like Hancock effectively just shut down almost all international travel for some time to come as far as the UK is concerned: "until we are sure of the vaccine efficacy against ALL variants of the virus, not just the current variants in the UK, [quarantine / hotel quarantine] restrictions will remain in place."

Just like its not possible to prove a piece of software is totally bug free, it will never be possible to assure a vaccine will protect against ALL variants - there will always be another variant / mutation just around the corner that the vaccine hasn't been tested / proven against.

infrequentflyer789
9th Feb 2021, 14:47
PilotLZ

If you actually run the numbers on that strategy it doesn't look so good though.

Using UK figures (self-interest herby declared) the vulnerable number around 10million, (8.7 over 70 + >2 clinically extremely vulnerable, self-interest herby declared on the latter), there will be some overlap so call it 10 (the priority groups being vaccinated also include few million health and care workers etc.). NHS reckons 10% infection fatality rate for this group, which seems about right (most of the deaths so far with lower infection rate than the 20% population overall due to shielding etc.). Lets assume we don't care about anyone else or about long term damage to survivors (possibly more prevalent in younger groups).

Assume if we let it rip through everyone else we end up with around 80% exposed - Bergamo reached 70% 1st wave before a lockdown, Manaus got to over 60% but then had a second wave on top of that.
Also assume a "back to normal" means the vulnerable will see the same attack rate as population as a whole. Note: Newer variants, including the UK one, might well go higher.

Assume (optimistically) no new variants with vaccine-escape mutations (remember the bigger pool of virus/hosts the more likely mutations are).

Assume (optimistically again) no reinfections, or that reinfections are lighter and add no further mortality risk (already known to be false but we don't know in how many people).

Assume (optimistically) we can vaccinate 100% of the vulnerable 10m, none of them has health problems that prevent it, none of them has weird conspiracy beliefs about Bill G or religious beliefs that it makes you gay or whatever.

Assume vaccine efficacy is 90% (ball park for Pfizer, optimistic for Oxford/AZ), thus reducing IFR for the vulnerable group down to 1%.

Expected deaths: 10m * 0.8 * (1 - 0.9) * 0.1 = 80k further deaths. If vaccine efficacy is actually 75% (roughly Oxford stated) then it is 200k.

Bearing in mind that the NHS has struggled at various points to cope (and with a lot of collateral damage still to come from cancelled non-covid treatment) with around 110k deaths over a year, looks to me like you would still need other spread-control measures (i.e. lockdowns) to flatten the curve and avoid overrunning health care (if you overrun those death rates go up further). And if the optimistic assumptions don't hold....

OR we can view the vaccines, and vaccination of as many people as possible, as one more tool to control the spread of the disease alongside the tools we have (like lockdown). We can either use the tools to "flatten the curve" (haven't done a good job at that in UK so far, but maybe vaccines will make it more controllable), OR we can use them to keep cases going down, targeting zero. Now, targeting zero sounds good to me, a declining epidemic means a declining death rate for a start, but a declining case rate means declining pressure on the health service which means people might be able to get treatment for non-covid conditions again (final declaration of self-interest...).

I think best hope for travel and aviation industry is if enough countries / areas in the world get to low-and-declining or near-zero to establish air corridors around a significant portion of the world. The holiday/leisure market will return, maybe even with a big demand bounce, holidays mostly just haven't been happening, holiday money hasn't been spent. Business travel I'm not so sure - business (in other sectors at least ) has carried on and been forced to find other ways to work, some of that change may well be permanent.

ATC Watcher
10th Feb 2021, 07:29
@ infrequentflyer789 (https://www.pprune.org/members/214043-infrequentflyer789) : I think best hope for travel and aviation industry is if enough countries / areas in the world get to low-and-declining or near-zero to establish air corridors around a significant portion of the world. The holiday/leisure market will return, maybe even with a big demand bounce, holidays mostly just haven't been happening, holiday money hasn't been spent. Business travel I'm not so sure - business (in other sectors at least ) has carried on and been forced to find other ways to work, some of that change may well be permanent.
I am in a working group with reps from ATC ANSPs and airlines discussing the future of the infrastructure and how to cope when it will rebound and how to finance it. Your analysis is not too far from what we hear at the moment however one major element is missing : predictability .
Corridors between safe countries that can be closed with 24h notice if cases are detected , like in Australia , or in the Canaries to take 2 recent examples does not help much tourism to restart. For business we see the same for trade shows, conference, which were always a major revenue for business travel, being cancelled on relatively short notice .The latest news we hear about variants combined with the possible need of multiple regular vaccine boosters (that do not exist yet) to counter them is not creating a serene atmosphere to plan a Sumer schedule. . Fear at the moment is that 2021 might be worse than 2020 for aviation and that we are in this for a very long time.