Coronavirus: how long does the virus live on a surface?

17 March 2020, 16:09 | Updated: 16 April 2020, 14:48

By Fiona Jones

Coronavirus: how long does the virus live on a surface? LBC asked the expert.

Consultant virologist Dr Chris Smith told LBC that the answer to this question is becoming clearer everyday as people are constantly researching.

Dr Smith said there was a pre-print paper published online looking at this very question and it found the longest recorded time the virus remained viable on a surface was up to three days.

"The surface does differ...if you have different surfaces you have different lengths of viral survival. If you have stainless steel or plastic that seems to be consistent with the longest survival times of maybe three days.

"Copper seems to be toxic, so if you have money in your pocket, lucky you. If you have copper coins there, then this appears to deactivate the virus a bit more rapidly, say hours.

"In the air though when you cough and sneeze and breathe out the virus, probably a few hours at most."

Watch LIVE: the government's coronavirus daily public briefing with Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The entire UK population is being urged to follow unprecedented peacetime measures to try to control the spread of coronavirus.

The Prime Minister is asking everyone to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres, stop all non-essential contact and travel, and work from home if possible.

Mr Johnson has also told those with serious underlying health conditions to remain in self-isolation.

Read more: what is an underlying health condition?

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