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This is how long Covid-19 can survive on ATM and phone screens

CAPE TOWN – A recent Australian study looked into the risks of transmission via contaminated surfaces finding how long Covid-19 is able to survive on commonly touched items and surfaces.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues and the world awaits a Covid-19 vaccine, researchers and scientists continue to learn more about the virus and how we can reduce further transmission with many countries now facing a second wave of infections.

A recent study published in the Virology Journal by the researchers from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, looked further into the survival rate of Covid-19 several common surface types with all experiments taken in the dark to prevent any possible UV light effects with all surfaces sampled at various time points and incubated at 20 °C, 30 °C and 40 °C.

The researchers discovered Covid-19 remained infectious on non-porous surfaces such as glass, plastics, metals, and varnished wood for up to 29 days in ambient temperature and humidity such as 20°C and 50% relative humidity with the study specifically pointing out these surfaces and materials are all found on touchscreen devices such as phones and ATMs as well as plastic banknotes. The team of researchers also found that increasing the temperature to 40°C drastically reduced survivability on these surfaces.

The study also found that the infectivity level on cotton was similar to non-porous surfaces after 5 minutes only but discovered that drying the fabric in the sun for 1 hour and reduced infectivity to 99 percent less than non-porous surfaces suggesting the process of sun-drying was a significant factor in reducing survivability on such fabrics.

The team of researchers also discovered the persistence of the virus on both polymer and paper banknotes which proves to be a significant form of transmission as these forms of currencies travel from hand-to-hand with the study report saying that paper notes have shown to harbour more pathogens than polymer notes, both demonstrated the survival of Covid-19 for up to 28 days at 20°C although faster inactivation was found on polymer notes.

The study report suggests its data and findings should be considered in strategies designed to reduce the risk of transmission via commonly touched surfaces especially in the public health and transport sectors.

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