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Coronavirus can last on surfaces from three hours to seven days, according to a recent study that sought to uncover the stability of the COVID-19 virus.

According to the World Health Organization, the length of time the COVID-19 virus will remain on surfaces depends on a number of conditions, such as the texture of the surface, surrounding humidity and temperature.

How long does coronavirus last on surfaces?

  • Coronavirus can remain stable while airborne for three hours
  • Coronavirus can live on copper surfaces for four hours
  • Coronavirus can live on cardboard for 24 hours
  • Coronavirus can live on plastic for two to three days
  • Coronavirus can live on stainless steel for two to three days.

The study, titled “Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1”, sought to replicate a scenario in which the virus contaminates materials that make up home and hospitals settings. An infected individual contaminated the surfaces through coughing or touching the materials as mentioned above. The scientists then measured the length of time the virus was still live and transmissible. 

The findings of the study highlight the detrimental effects casual contact with objects can have, especially in areas that have high footfall, such as supermarkets.

In light of the findings, the study recommends regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; staying home if you are sick, regardless of whether you think it may be coronavirus or not; and safely disposing of tissues and other items used to wipe the mucous membranes of the face, such as the eyes, nose and mouth. 

While more research needs to be carried out to fully understand the nature of coronavirus, the cited study highlights a need to regularly clean your surroundings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following:

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces on a daily basis. Examples of high-touch surfaces include doorknobs, kitchen tables, handles, electronic handheld devices, keyboards, light switches and toilets
  • Launder clothes and bedclothes at a high water temperature where possible
  • If there is an infected person in the household, ensure they are isolated in one area.

Read: How is coronavirus spread? Plus steps to reduce your risk

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