Home Travel Should We Expect This Before Post-COVID Air Travel? Maybe.

Should We Expect This Before Post-COVID Air Travel? Maybe.

by SharonKurheg

Fortune Magazine wrote last week that the Hong Kong government had announced all travelers on inbound flights would be tested for coronavirus upon landing.

The article also pointed out that some airports in Beijing and Shanghai have been testing all incoming passengers for several weeks, and airports in South Korea and Taiwan have been testing all passengers from incoming flights from specific areas.

Meanwhile, NPR reports that Emirates Airlines has begun conducting rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers before embarking on specific flights.

On top of that, Florida governor Ron DeSantis has spoken about the possibility of checking international travelers with “rapid” coronavirus tests at the state’s airports and cruise ports.

Will these “rapid” blood tests be part of the future of air travel? Well, I think it’s definitely a possibility.

When it was obvious that coronavirus was making its way around the globe, one of the first things that happened was countries started closing their borders to people from specific “hot spot” countries. That eventually led to most of them shutting off entry entirely, except to their own people (and for some countries, not even that). It was done in the name of self-protection but I could definitely see it continuing as an ongoing preventative measure in post-COVID life.

However, whether it’s in a matter of months or years, domestic and international travel will eventually be re-introduced into a yet-to-be-specified “new normal.” Hopefully, a vaccine will be available more sooner than later, but even then, there will be some people who won’t have them. Anti-vaxxers, those who are allergic to something in the vaccine, etc., won’t or can’t get the shot. So in order to travel and prove that you’re healthy and not just asymptomatic, both now and once a vaccine is in place, I could easily see some sort of proof becoming the norm, before you step foot on the plane, train, ship, etc.

How they would do it is questionable. Rapid test at the airport? Test at a lab and then proof will be on your phone or an electronic database? They each have their own pros and cons in terms of timeliness, privacy, etc. I guess it’s something that, if this is the route they went, would have to be worked out.

Meanwhile, Bob Iger, the Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company, has suggested another way to screen people – to take their temperatures. From the Orlando Sentinel:

“Just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that that takes people’s temperatures, as a for-instance.”

But fans of Disney parks were almost immediately punching holes in that, suggesting that unscrupulous people would simply take aspirin or other medications to temporarily lower their temperature so they could get in. Or patrons could be asymptomatic and still be a carrier.

So of the two, at this point (who knows what else could come down the pike), a quick blood test before you can go on the plane (not after you land; if you’re positive, then you’ve already put everyone else on the plane at risk) sounds the most promising in terms of accurate results. Even though it would undoubtedly have some hurdles. That is, if they decided to go in that direction.

#stayhealthy #stayathome #washyourhands

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Rich April 20, 2020 - 3:12 pm

Until they come up with a rapid test that has an extremely high specificity (low false positives) that kind of thing is crazy and won’t happen. Here is an excerpt discussing HIV rapid tests that says false positives can be 1-5 %.

What causes a false positive ELISA test result?
The ELISA is a highly sensitive test, and can sometimes generate false positives by
mistaking other antibodies for those of HIV.
• Standard HIV ELISA test specificity is >95%. Specificity for the rapid ELISA HIV
test is >98.9%.
• Common causes of a false positive ELISA include: administration of flu vaccine,
presence of HLA-DR antibodies in multigravada women, presence of rheumatoid
factor, positive RPR test, hypergammaglobulinemia (e.g. multiple myeloma) and
autoimmune hepatitis.
Any positive ELISA test must be followed by a confirmatory test (WB or IFA).

So what happens if 1-5% of fliers are banned from flying?

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