Everyone is keeping everything crossed for the 22nd February when the UK Government will outline its plan for exiting lock down and we all hope that life can return to some semblance of normality, even if it’s just resembles the “normal” of last summer!
Signs are positive with the number of daily positive tests dropping, and with the vaccine roll-out continuing at a pace, not only has the Government met its target of offering vaccines to the top four priority groups, but they are underway with round two.
Unfortunately, there are still a few flies in the ointment. The new variants that have been identified are concerning due to increased infection rates and while the current vaccines are still effective, they may not ‘as’ effective.
Hands – Face – Space will be retained as a regular mantra , especially in light of a study from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national research agency. It has recently undertaken a study to establish the ‘Transmission of SARS CoV-2 via surfaces’.
The investigation looked at six different surface types that they felt represented commonly touched, everyday surfaces. It looked at the survival of infectious SARS CoV-2 suspended in artificial mucous at three different temperatures (20oC, 30oC, 40oC).
Their results found that: “At 20°C we found that the virus was extremely robust. We were able to recover infectious material at 28 days from all the smooth (non-porous) surfaces. These are stainless steel, glass, vinyl, and paper/polymer banknotes. The recovery of SARS-CoV-2 from the porous material (cotton cloth) at 20°C was much shorter with no viable virus surviving past 14 days.”
The report continued: “At 30°C infectious virus was recoverable for only seven days from stainless steel, money (polymer banknotes) and glass. It was recoverable for only three days from vinyl and cotton cloth.”
Whereas, “At 40°C the virus was inactivated much more quickly. Infectious SARS-CoV-2 was detectable for less than 16 hours for cotton cloth, up to 24 hours for glass, stainless steel, paper and polymer notes and 48 hours for vinyl.”
The implications of this study for the UK are far-reaching, rarely do we have ambient temperatures of 30oC – currently we are around 2oC! Most workplaces and public buildings will maintain an inside temperature of between 16oC and 24oC, in line with Unison’s recommendations for a comfortable working environment.
The results conclude that any SARS CoV-2 that is left on a surface in an office, school or public space that is in or around 20oC, could survive and be infectious for 28 days, leaving plenty of “open” time to be transferred to other people and surfaces. While increased daily cleaning with the appropriate agents and method of cleaning should remove the chance of the virus being there for that long, the study shows that the virus will still be infectious within the intervening hours between cleans.
To read the full report click here https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/Health/Infectious-diseases-coronavirus/Understanding-the-virus/how-long-the-virus-can-survive
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