The recent ban by the Thailand government on serving, or consuming, food and beverage on flights has reignited the debate on whether governments around the world, including in India, should do the same.
It is a tricky issue. While airlines are pushing for travel to normalise as fast as possible to recover from the huge dent made by COVID-19, governments need to take a call on the safety of passengers amid a new strain of the virus re-igniting concerns.
The concerns are not without reason.
India suspended flights from the UK in December. And despite measures to ensure passengers had tested negative for the virus before boarding – for flights before the suspension came into effect – about 20 people tested positive for the new virus strain, on arrival in India. That some of these positive travellers managed to slip through and reached their hometown before being detained again, underlined the risk involved.
“While modern aircraft cabin air circulation and HEPA filtration systems are safe – they will not re-circulate viruses – these cannot protect against someone directly breathing or ingesting infected air from someone having a glass of wine in the next seat.
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