Beijing: A Chinese study has made the shocking revelation that the coronavirus can remain suspended in the air for a minimum of 30 minutes and can survive for days on various types of surfaces. Additionally, it can cover distances of up to 15 feet.
New York Post cited the South China Morning Post (SCMP), according to which, the findings put forth by epidemiologists from the Chinese government, contradict the directives of various health agencies that suggest maintaining a "safe distance" of 3 to 6 feet in public places.
The researchers stated in their paper which got published in Practical Preventive Medicine that "it can be confirmed that in a closed environment with air-conditioning, the transmission distance of the new coronavirus will exceed the commonly recognised safe distance," reported South China Morning Post.
The experts also found that at 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.6-degrees Celsius), the microbe can stay alive on surfaces such as glass, metal, fabric, plastics, and paper for two to three days. Also, human feces and bodily fluids can harbor the virus for more than five days, the scientists added.
According to the South China Morning Post, the research is based on the case study of a COVID-19 stricken person who infected 13 others while traveling on a 48 seater bus for a long-distance journey.
Surveillance footage showed that the patient didn't interact with any of the fellow passengers, however, a couple of people who caught the disease were sitting at a distance of nearly 15 feet.
Another person who contracted the virus, boarded the bus 30 minutes after the infected people had left the spot.
When riding on more closed public transportation such as subways, cars, planes, etc, you should wear a mask all the time, and at the same time, minimise the contact between your hands and public areas, and avoid touching your face before cleaning.
The person being studied later boarded another bus and ended up infecting two more people who were again sitting 15 feet away.
"The possible reason is that in a completely enclosed space, the airflow is mainly driven by the hot air generated by the air conditioning. The rise of the hot air can transport the virus-laden droplets to a greater distance," SCMP said.
The study calls for even more stringent precautionary measures to be put in place for curbing the proliferation of the deadly disease.
While advising SCMP, the scientists said: "When riding on more closed public transportation such as subways, cars, planes, etc, you should wear a mask all the time, and at the same time, minimise the contact between your hands and public areas, and avoid touching your face before cleaning."
They further stated that public transport should be kept as neat and clean as possible.