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Aerosols can travel up to 10 metres: Centre issues fresh Covid advisory

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Aerosols can travel up to 10 metres: Centre issues fresh Covid advisory

As the second wave of coronavirus ravages the country, the Centre has issued fresh guidelines explaining the possible routes the virus may take to infect a person. In the new advisory, the office of the Principal Scientific Adviser said aerosols, one of the key transmission mode of the SARS-CoV-2, can travel in the air up to 10 meters. While sharing a set of guidelines called “Stop the Transmission, Crush the Pandemic”, the panel said, “Always Remember: People who show no symptoms can also spread the virus.” The document highlights the important role of masks, distance, sanitation and ventilation.

While droplets fall within two meters from an infected person, smaller aerosol particles are carried in the air up to 10 metres, it said. Saliva and nasal discharged in the form of droplets and aerosols by an infected person is the primary mode of virus transmissions, the document said, adding that an infected person without symptoms also transmit the virus.

Urging people to follow Covid appropriate behaviour, the new guidelines said that people should wear a double layer mask or an N95 mask, which offers maximum protection. For double masking, wear a surgical mask, then wear another tight fitting cloth mask over it, the advisory added.

Calling for frequent cleaning of high contact points such as door handles, light switches, tables, chairs and the floor with disinfectants like bleach and phenyl, the document said, droplets emitted by an infected person land on various surfaces (where they can survive for a long time).

“Just as smells can be diluted by ventilation, the dangerous concentration of the virus can be reduced by ensuring that outdoor air flows in,” it said.

While stating that proper ventilation can prevent the spread of the virus, the panel added, “Running air conditioners while keeping windows and doors shut, traps infected air inside the room, and increases risk of transmission from an infected carrier to others.”

“Droplets emitted by an infected person land on various surfaces. When someone touches these contaminated surfaces, and, without washing hands with soap, touches their mouth, nose or eyes, they can contract the virus. These virus laden droplets can survive on non porous surfaces such as glass, plastic and stainless steel for a fairly long time,” the advisory noted.

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