She added: “It’s very important that health-care workers take additional precautions when they’re working on patients and doing those procedures.”
World health officials say the respiratory disease spreads through human-to-human contact, droplets carried through sneezing and coughing as well as germs left on inanimate objects. The coronavirus can go airborne, staying suspended in the air depending on factors such as heat and humidity, they said.
Kerkhove said health officials are aware of several studies in a number of countries looking at the different environmental conditions that COVID-19 can persist. Scientists are specifically looking at how humidity, temperature and ultraviolet lighting affects the disease as well as how long it lives on different surfaces, including steel, she said.
Health officials use the information to make sure WHO’s guidance is appropriate, and “so far ... we are confident that the guidance that we have is appropriate,” she added. Health officials recommend medical staff wear so-called N95 masks because they filter out about 95% of all liquid or airborne particles.
“In health-care facilities, we make sure health-care workers use standard droplet precautions with the exception ... that they’re doing an aerosol-generating procedure,” she said.
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Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Congress last month that the agency was aggressively evaluating how long COVID-19 can survive, particularly on surfaces.
“On copper and steel, it’s pretty typical, it’s pretty much about two hours,” Redfield said at a House hearing. “But I will say on other surfaces — cardboard or plastic — it’s longer, and so we are looking at this.”
Redfield added infections contracted from surfaces rather than through the air could have contributed to the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. SHARE THIS NEWS USING ANY OF THE BUTTON BELOW PLACE YOUR TEXT ADVERT BELOW ⬇⬇⬇