Health

Coronavirus can travel twice as far as official ‘safe distance’ and stay in air for…

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The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 can linger in the air for at least 30 minutes and travel up to 4.5 meters (14,7 inches) – further than the “safe distance” advised by health authorities around the world, according to a study by a team of Chinese government epidemiologists.

The researchers also found that it can last for days on a surface where respiratory droplets land, raising the risk of transmission if unsuspecting people touch it and then rub their face.

The length of time it lasts on the surface depends on factors such as temperature and the type of surface, for example at around 98F, it can survive for two to three days on glass, fabric, metal, plastic or paper.

These findings, from a group of official researchers from Hunan province investigating a cluster case, challenge the advice from health authorities around the world that people should remain apart at a “safe distance” of one to two metres (three to six and a half feet).

Their work was based on a local outbreak case on January 22 during the peak Lunar New Year travel season. A passenger, known as “A”, boarded a fully booked long-distance coach and settled down on the second row from the back.

Note: The study at the centre of this article on the transmission of the coronavirus was retracted on Tuesday by the journal Practical Preventive Medicine without giving a reason. The South China Morning Post has reached out to the paper’s authors and will update the article.

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