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HEALTH

Mosquitoes don’t transmit coronavirus, Italian study finds

Mosquito bites are one of the major downsides of summer in Italy, and there have been additional worries this year that they could also transmit the virus. But a new Italian study says that neither regular nor tiger mosquitos are able to carry it.

Mosquitoes don't transmit coronavirus, Italian study finds
File photo of an Asian Tiger mosquito. Photo: Yuri Cortez/AFP
A new scientific study by Italy's national health institute ISS shows that mosquitoes are unable to transmit coronavirus to humans, the institute said in a statement on Thursday.
 
The World Health Organisation had already said there was no evidence that the virus could be transmitted by the blood-sucking insects, which spread dengue and other diseases when they bite humans.
 
In recent years there have been outbreaks of the Zika virus and West Nile fever detected in Italy, both of which were believed to have been spead by mosquitos.
 
 
So concerns were high that the same could happen with the new coronavirus.
 
But the latest study, performed in collaboration with IZSVe, a research organisation for animal health and food safety, revealed that neither the tiger mosquito or common mosquito could transmit SARS-CoV-2.
 
“The research showed that the virus, once given to the mosquito through a meal of infected blood, was not able to replicate,” ISS said in a statement,  ruled out the transmission of COVID-19 through mosquito bites.

Nonetheless the ISS advises people to take precautions against mosquitos, especially during the insects' peak activity at at sunrise and sunset. Its recommendations include:

  • Use repellent.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers.
  • Sleep in rooms with air-conditioning where possible and keep windows closed or screened.
  • Use mosquito nets.

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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