Flying? How to avoid coronavirus

Terri is about to fly through Singapore and is worried that she may be exposed to coronavirus.

Q. Terri
We’re off to London via Singapore and I’m a bit worried about exposure to coronavirus. Is there any chance it will be on my plane? How are people being screened?


A. The deadly coronavirus has spread from its origin point in China.

Many people have the very real fear is that right next door to China are favourite global stopover airports (and destinations), Singapore and Hong Kong, from where the disease could easily and rapidly spread.

It probably won’t be long before it hits our shores.

Are you at risk?

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the chance of getting the mystery virus is low, so long as you take sensible precautions.

The virus has been compared to the SARS outbreak which no one ever contracted from a plane.

“All the people with SARS, who were incubating it, not one of them spread it on the airplane,” said Dr James Cherry from UCLA School of Medicine.

Dr Cherry says you should be more concerned about seasonal influenza.

“Seasonal influenza and for that, the person who is coughing isn’t a risk but the person who is sneezing is the bigger risk,” he said.

But if you are concerned about contracting coronavirus while flying, experts say you should consider a mask, wash your hands and use hand sanitiser liberally. And you’ll have a better chance of avoiding germs in a window seat or first class cabin, or by following these simple tips.

Smartraveller has the following advice if you are visiting a country with a detected case of Novel Coronavirus.


This advice was accurate at time of writing. Check for up-to-date assessments.

Are you concerned about coronavirus? Have you, or has someone you know, recently flown to or from China or any airport close by China?

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