Travellers warned of major ‘contagious’ item lurking in their hand luggage

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Travelling in the wake of coronavirus is a different affair to even as recent as a year ago. Now, airlines and passengers alike are united in their efforts to stop the spread of the virus when jetting off around the world.

Though airlines have increased the cleaning onboard, and are asking passengers to wear face coverings during their journeys, there are some other key elements of travel passengers may not realise pose a risk of infection.

Martin Lindstorm, the author of a new post-coved travel book titled “Travel Truth and Lies Unmasked”, points out that passports could be exposed to the virus if adequate measures aren’t taken.

This is why hand sanitising is so crucial; particularly after leaving areas where your passport has been handled.

“Sanitise your hands and passport immediately after leaving border control,” warns the expert.

“Just remember: on any given day, more than 235,000 passengers and their passports go through each of the ten largest international airports.

“Passport control is the most contagious place to spend your time.”

Luckily, in most airports, staff are given PPE to help increase social distancing.

This includes the use of face masks and gloves.


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Airports, much like aeroplanes, are also now subject to a heightened cleaning regime.

Travellers can also take cleanliness into their own hands, points out Mr Lindstrom.

He recommends holidaymakers think ahead and pack disinfectant wipes for this very reason.

“As soon as you’ve sat down, crack out the wet wipes and do a quick clean of the most essential touchpoints including the seatbelt buckle, armrest (top and underneath), tray table lock, actual tray table and touch screens,” suggests the expert.

“But please, please think green: so many of the ‘paper-based’ wipes actually contain plastic and are completely non-biodegradable.

“There are wipes out there that have not been laminated in this way and are genuinely recyclable.”

Another item which carries a high number of germs is your mobile phone.

“Consider your phone an extension of your hand, so sanitise that regularly too,” advised Mr Lindstorm.

A new study has claimed that, if the correct precautions are taken by both airlines and passengers, risk of exposure to COVID-19 while onboard is “virtually non-existent”.

The study, conducted by the US Department of Defense, through US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) in partnership with United Airways, took into account the airflow around the cabin.

By using sensors representing passengers, and simulating a coughing motion, the experts detected how far particles traveller.

Based on airflow, and the use of a HEPA filter onboard, the study states seated passengers are only exposed to around 0.003 percent of infected air.

However, passengers must be wearing a face mask.

The study found that “masks continue to help minimise exposure when someone coughs.”

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