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Masks Requirement Depends on Your Destination

January 11, 2023 • 1:30 pm CST
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(Vax Before Travel)

According to today's announcements, World Health Organization (WHO) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) officials again recommend airline travelers wear face masks while flying.

During a media briefing, Catherine Smallwood, WHO senior emergency officer for Europe, stated, "Passengers should be advised to wear masks in high-risk settings such as long-haul flights."

"This should be a recommendation issued to arriving passengers where there is widespread COVID-19 transmission."

The ECDC reported today the following recommendations apply with immediate effect for flights arriving in the EU from China: 

  • pre-departure testing for passengers on direct and indirect flights,  
  • wearing of medical face masks or respirators on board the aircraft for both passengers and crew,
  • enhanced cleaning and disinfection of aircraft serving these routes,
  • wherever possible, the vaccination status of crew members should be considered before assignment for duty,
  • random testing may also be carried out on a sample of arriving passengers,
  • wastewater should be monitored at airports with international flights and aircraft arriving from China to monitor the level of infection and detect any new variants.

These ECDC measures were defined in a way that should not introduce any flight delays or compromise flight safety. 

While there is ample debate on the value of wearing face masks in the open air, numerous studies support mask-use when in closed settings, such as an airplane.

And the WHO Director-General's remarks at the media briefing on January 11, 2023, included, "And we continue to call on all people to take appropriate precautions when necessary to protect yourself and others."

"You may not die with this disease (COVID-19), but you could give it to someone else who does."

Globally, nearly 2.9 million new COVID-19 cases and over 11,000 related fatalities were reported for the week ending January 8, 2023.

However, the data represents a reduction in weekly cases and fatalities of 9% and 12%, respectively, reported the WHO today.