One-third of the passengers on a flight from New Delhi tested positive for COVID-19; now experts debate the risks of pandemic travel.

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HONG KONG – Rashida Fathima’s anxiety levels skyrocketed as she boarded the red-eyed flight from New Delhi to Hong Kong with her family. Covid-19 cases were increasing in India and the plane was almost full. Two weeks after landing, Ms Fathima, her husband and two children tested positive for the coronavirus at their quarantine hotel. More than a third of the passengers on flight UK6395, 52 so far, have tested positive, the most of any aircraft arriving in the city. The group is sparking a debate among health experts in Hong Kong about how they got infected and highlights the struggle the aviation industry faces as it seeks to get people to travel again.

Speaking from the hospital, Ms Fathima said she feared her family would contract the infections on the April 3 voyage, despite wearing masks most of the time and avoiding using the toilets on board. Some passengers, including one in the same row, repeatedly coughed during the six-hour flight, people removed their masks to eat and some parents walked their children crying up and down the aisle, he said. An expanded version of this article appears on Popular Stories: