By now, we’ve all had it drummed into us that social distancing and self-isolation is the most effective way to stunt the spread of COVID-19. Not only does it limit your exposure to those who may already be infected (even if not showing symptoms), without a host to live in, the virus eventually dies off. But it begs the question: how long can it survive on the surfaces around us?
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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are several factors that determine the life of the virus, including temperature and humidity. Research suggests that on hard, shiny surfaces (think glass, countertops, plastic and stainless steel) it can stick around for up to 72 hours. On other porous materials, however, like cardboard, paper and fabrics it only lasts for around 24 hours.
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Worried you may have come into contact with a contaminated surface (say, at the shops or your local GP?) Invest in an alcohol-based hand sanitiser or wash them thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds (read more on the proper technique to do so here). We also highly recommend using gloves in places like petrol stations.
As for your home or office, it’s critical to wipe down surfaces regularly with an anti-bacterial spray - packaging included. And while cooking fruit and veg should kill off any virus, make sure you rinse fresh produce thoroughly with running water.
"The recommendation still continues to make sure to soak (produce) in water or put it under running water to wash out any potential contamination," Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia told USA Today.
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