Expert committee says that mere touch to infected person with not cause spread of covid19.

The Bombay High Court on Friday passed an interim order directing airlines to follow the May 31 circular of the Civil Aviation ministry that had allowed middle-seats in flights to be occupied, provided that the passenger wears ‘wrap-around’ gowns and the SOPs issued by the DGCA to guard against COVID-19 spread are strictly followed.

The order was passed following a clarification by the Expert Committee formed under the Ministry of Civil Aviation that COVID-19 could be transmitted by inadvertent touch only under certain specific circumstances.

The Committee has clarified that contact with the mouth or nose may heighten chances of COVID-19 transmission. However, an invertent touch to another part of the body or clothing by itself would not transmit the virus. The Committee’s reply states,

“COVID-19 virus can be transmitted by touch only under certain circumstances. For example, lf a surface, like clothes, is infected with Covid-19 virus {such infection will take place when the droplets from the mouth or nose- sneezing or coughing- of an infected person sit on such a surface) and a non-infected person touches it and then touches his mouth or nose, then there are chances that the second person may get infected.”

“… if an infected person merely touches a non-infected person the virus will not be transmitted unless the conditions mentioned above are fulfilled.”the Committee added.

It is also pointed out that this was the reason why it is recommended that a person disinfect his hands regularly amid the pandemic.

The five-member committee also asserted that the risk of COVID-19 transmission would be minimised if all passengers wear protective gowns and masks to curb its spread and insulate themselves from contracting the disease from an infected person.

The gown would provide a necessary shield in case of an inadvertent touch between an infected and a non-infected person, it was stated.

However, it is necessary that both persons are wearing a mask and a protective face shield to ensure this, the reply stated, adding that “lt is mandatory that the prescribed protocol for putting on the gown and removing lt is strictly followed.”

In view of the same, the Bench of Justices SJ Kathawalla and SP Tavade has ordered,

“… the Flight Operators including Respondent Nos. 2 and 3 shall allow the passengers to occupy the middle seat strictly in compliance with the Circular dated 31st May, 2020 and the applicable SOPs / circulars / guidelines issued from time to time by the concerned authorities.”

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