Coronavirus: How long does Covid-19 live on surfaces? Is post from China safe?

10 March 2020, 10:39

Is it safe to touch surfaces in public?
Is it safe to touch surfaces in public? Picture: PA

Coronavirus UK: How long does Covid-19 live on surfaces? How does coronavirus spread? Is it safe to get post from China or Italy? LBC News answers your questions.

Can the coronavirus live on soft surfaces like fabric or carpet? What about hard surfaces?

At the moment the available evidence suggests a frequently-touched hard surface, such as a doorknob or elevator button is more of a risk than something like a carpet.

Health organisations have very little information about how long Covid-19 can survive on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the Covid-19 virus) may be present on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.

Read more: Coronavirus symptoms - What are they and what is the risk of Covid-19 in the UK?

Health organisations say this may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

The advice is if you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

After touching surfaces such as handrails or doorknobs mean people should wash their hands as soon as possible once they get the chance or use hand sanitiser.

Read more: Coronavirus: Beard sanitiser sales spike after NHS urged staff to shave

What is coronavirus (Covid-19)?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can make humans and animals sick. They cause illnesses that can range from the common cold to more severe diseases.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China.

Other coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Read more: Coronavirus UK: Do surgical face masks work to avoid virus symptoms?

Is it safe to receive packages from China or Italy?

World Health Organisation advice is yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes Covid-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low. 

Read more: Coronavirus: What is a pandemic and how is one declared?

How does Covid-19 spread?

The WHO says people can catch Covid-19 from others who are already infected with the virus.

The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with Covid-19 coughs or exhales.

Read more: Family self-isolated due to 'people’s fears' over coronavirus

These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch Covid-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

People can also catch Covid-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with Covid-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

The virus is most likely spread through:

-Close contact with an infectious person

-Contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze

-Touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face

Read more: ‘Don’t die, please buy’ Glasgow newsagent sells out entire stock of coronavirus face masks

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

iPhones are among the affected devices

Apple reveals serious security issue with iPhones, iPads and Macs that could give hackers complete control

Another day of travel chaos awaits commuters in and to London

Unions threaten to strike for 'as long as it takes' as millions face more travel chaos in London

The officer has been charged with dangerous driving

Armed officer charged with dangerous driving after he drove unmarked car to Streatham terror attack

Ryan Giggs' raunchy poems to his ex were read out in court

Ryan Giggs' mother sits in court as raunchy 'totem pole' poems he sent to ex are read out

Ms Marin said she is a normal 36-year-old who spends time with her friends

Finnish PM denies drug taking after footage of 36-year-old dancing at 'wild' party emerges

A-Level teens should take on apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

A-Level teens should take on apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

A new image, on the right, has been released

New image of man released by police after girl, 6, abducted and taken to woodland in Droylsden

Mr Mendy and Mar Matturie deny a string of sex offences

Benjamin Mendy 'told rape victim he had sex with 10,000 women and it was a privilege'

Anger as Southern Water ‘unsure’ how many litres of sewage released at closed beaches

Sewage scandal: pollution plaguing Britain’s beaches and beauty spots as water firms told 'clean up your act'

Rishi said his go-to item with his daughters would be a breakfast wrap, which has been discontinued

Rishi Sunak’s 'go-to' McDonald’s order with his family taken off menu over two years ago

Salman Rushdie suspect had ‘read two pages’ of the Satanic verses, after mother says ‘I’m done with him’.

Salman Rushdie attack suspect reveals he 'only read two pages' of Satanic Verses

Exclusive
Sadiq Khan said the heatwave was partly to blame for the recent rise in violent crime

Sadiq Khan blames London's rise in violent crime on longer days, school holidays and the heatwave

MP Margaret Ferrier has pleaded guilty to breaching Covid rules

MP Margaret Ferrier pleads guilty to Covid rule breach

The body of Aran Chada, 51, was found hundreds of metres below the surface of Lake Garda

Body of ‘Hero’ British father found at bottom of Italian Lake after he jumped from boat to save his son

Jeremy Corbyn joined striking rail workers on a picket line at Euston this morning

Labour MPs defy Starmer again by joining striking rail workers as Corbyn shows up sporting black eye

Forensic investigators at the scene in Auckland where the children's bodies were found

Horrified family finds bodies of two children in suitcases bought at abandoned storage unit sale in New Zealand