Covid

The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 can survive on surfaces such as mobile phones and bank machines for up to 28 days, new Australian research has found.

The findings from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, reveal that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can live on certain surfaces for far longer than previously thought.

“At 20 degrees Celsius, which is about room temperature, we found that the virus was extremely robust, surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found on mobile phone screens and plastic banknotes,” said Debbie Eagles, deputy director of the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP), which undertook the research.

“For context, similar experiments for Influenza A have found that it survived on surfaces for 17 days, which highlights just how resilient SARS-CoV-2 is.”

The study, which was published in the Virology Journal on Monday, states that the virus survives longer on smooth surfaces such as glass, stainless steel and vinyl, compared to porous complex surfaces such as cotton.

But the experiment was carried out in the dark – research has already shown that sunlight can rapidly kill the virus.

The scientists said that the “persistence on glass” was a particularly important finding, given that bank machines, supermarket self-serve checkouts and airport check-in kiosks are high touch surfaces which may not be regularly cleaned.

They added that the results reinforce the need for good practices such as regular hand-washing and cleaning surfaces.

Previous studies had revealed that the virus that causes Covid-19 could be detected on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to three days.

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