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From an increased spike in researches being carried out to combat the novel coronavirus, to a constant addition of air purifier advertisements in between the daily soap slots, the ongoing pandemic has redefined the term ‘normal’ for all of us. Lately, travel has evolved and comes with a wide variety of services, to choose from. Is virus-free air the latest addition to the menu?
High-end air filtration systems may have been around for a while, but have become quite the buzzword lately, owing to the pandemic. The likelihood of airborne transmission of the virus had been discussed for a while before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged its possibility. As per WHO, airborne spread of the virus can take place, particularly in specific indoor locations.
The potential threat posed by the airborne nature of the virus has led to a demand in the upgrade of HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning) systems to more sophisticated ones in hotels, schools, businesses and even some casinos.
Hotels and resorts worldwide have been quick to adapt to the changing needs of the time. Carillon Miami Wellness Resort at South Beach, US is implementing air purification by using a Curis Fogger, which de-contaminates the air using a solution of hydrogen. The Hilton group's hotels have resorted to bipolar ionisation air purification systems.
New Delhi’s Leela Palace has chosen an electronic air cleaner approach, which ensures a multi-layer air filtration. Several other hotels have devised creative strategies like applications and digital menus, to reduce human contact, thus reducing the potential risk of the spread of the virus.
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Air quality is a major area of concern while travelling amidst the pandemic. Airplanes are usually equipped with True High-Efficiency Particle Filters or HEPA. A HEPA system filters and re-circulates in-flight air quite efficiently, removing around 99% of the microbes. This changes the cabin air 20-30 times within an hour. So the air you are inhaling in an airplane is safer than that at your office.
Cruise travel, is another industry that is working its way into making sea-voyages safe for passengers. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. have installed air purification technology and are seeking volunteers for mock voyages to test their functioning.
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This system uses a bio-polar ionisation method which disinfects the air as well as surfaces.
While earlier air purifier and treatment systems were either demanded by guests due to health conditions, or were needed because of the surrounding polluted air, they have now become essential.
With holiday season around the corner, travel cannot be avoided altogether, which in turn would lead to hotel stays, and travelling via domestic and international flights. While travellers cannot completely eliminate the risk of catching the virus, social distancing, wearing a face mask and finding about air purification measures being taken in-flight, at the hotel, or an alternate place of stay, are essential precautionary measures.
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