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researchsquare; 2022.


Background Air travel mediates transboundary movement of SARS-CoV-2. To prepare for future pandemics, we sought to understand air passenger behaviour and perceived risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.Methods This study of UK adults (n = 2103) quantified knowledge of COVID-19 symptoms, perceived health risk of contracting COVID-19, likelihood of returning to the UK with COVID-19 symptoms, likelihood to obey self-quarantining guidelines, how safe air travellers felt when flying during the pandemic (n = 305), and perceptions towards face covering effectiveness.Results Overall knowledge of COVID-19 symptoms was poor. Men and younger age groups (18–44) were less informed than women and older age groups (44+). A significant proportion (21%) of the population would likely travel back to the UK whilst displaying COVID-19 symptoms with many expressing that they would not fully comply with self-isolation guidelines. Overall, males and younger age groups had a reduced perceived personal risk from contracting COVID-19, posing a higher risk of transporting SARS-CoV-2 back to the UK.Conclusion Poor passenger knowledge and behaviour undermines government guidelines and policies aimed at preventing SARS-CoV-2 entry into the UK. This supports the need for stricter, clearer and more targeted guidelines with point-of-departure viral testing and stricter quarantining upon arrival.

medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.02.16.22269810


Genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 has been essential to provide an evidence base for public health decisions throughout the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Sequencing data from clinical cases has provided data crucial to understanding disease transmission and the detection, surveillance, and containment of outbreaks of novel variants, which continue to pose fresh challenges. However, genomic wastewater surveillance can provide important complementary information by providing estimates of variant frequencies which do not suffer from sampling bias, and capturing all variants circulating in a population. Here we show that genomic SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance can detect fine-scale differences within urban centres, specifically within the city of Liverpool, UK, during the emergence of Alpha and Delta variants between November 2020 and June 2021. Overall, the correspondence between wastewater and clinical variant frequencies demonstrates the reliability of wastewater surveillance. Yet, discrepancies between the two approaches in when the Alpha variant was first detected emphasises that wastewater monitoring can also capture missing information resulting from asymptomatic cases or communities less engaged with testing programmes, as found by a simultaneous surge testing effort across the city.