According to a study done by researchers from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the coronavirus can adhere to stainless steel and plastic surfaces for up to four days, and to the outer layer of a face mask for a week.
The report was published in medical journal The Lancet on Thursday (April 2).
The study raised issues of hygiene and health, and especially so when bringing items like groceries into their homes.
According to a report on TODAY Online, the researchers tested how long the virus could remain infectious at room temperature on various surfaces.
On printing paper and tissue paper, it lasted less than three hours, while on treated wood and cloth it had disappeared by the second day.
The researchers also tested the virus on glass and banknotes. During this, they found that the virus was still evident on the second day, but had gone by the fourth, while on stainless steel and plastic it was present for longer, between four and seven days.
When tested on a surgical mask, researchers found that the virus remained on the outer layer of a surgical face mask after seven days.
During his address on Friday (Apr 3), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong advised that people should wear a face mask if they were out and about. This is because, according to a CNA report, evidence suggests that infected people may be able to spread the virus to others for two to three days before becoming ill, says Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang from Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health in the National University of Singapore.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash their hands immediately after removing. /TISG
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