Chinese researchers insist on cleaning masks and greater distance between public to stop the spread of Covid-19
RECENT research indicates that the Coronavirus can adhere to surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic for up to four days, and to the outer layer of a face mask for up to a week.
It was discovered that common household disinfectants, including chlorine, are effective in ‘killing’ the virus.
In their research, the scientists tested how long the virus could remain at room temperature on various surfaces. On printing paper and tissue paper it lasted less than three hours, while on wood and treated fabrics, such as a lab jacket, it disappeared on the second day.
Shockingly, the researchers found that there was still a detectable level of infection in the outer layer of a surgical face mask after seven days, so “it is very important that if you wear a surgical mask you do not touch the outside of it,” explains Malik Peiris, clinical and public health virologist at the University of Hong Kong. “Because you can contaminate your hands and if you touch your eyes you could be transferring the virus to your eyes.”
On all surfaces, the concentration of the virus decreased fairly rapidly over time, according to the study. The researchers clarify, however, that the results “did not necessarily reflect the potential to collect the virus by chance contact,” since the presence of the virus in the study was detected by laboratory tools, and not by fingers and hands as would be the case in everyday life.
Regarding what kind of precautions we should take, Leo LM Poon, head of the science division of the University of Hong Kong public health laboratory insists on the importance of hygiene: “If you want to protect yourself, you just have to maintain good hygiene, wash your hands often and try not to touch your face, mouth or nose without cleaning yourself first.”
Furthermore, the same study, carried out on infections in Hunan province (China), pointed out that separation between people should be about four metres, contradicting the advice of health authorities around the world that people should stay separated to a “safe distance” of two metres.