Manila Bulletin

Coro­n­avirus sur­vives on skin five times longer than flu — study

- Health · Coronavirus (COVID-19) · Infectious Diseases · Influenza · Soap · Health Conditions · Skin Care · Cosmetics · Beauty · Fashion & Beauty · Tokyo · World Health Organization · Beijing · Paris · England · Italy · United States of America · United Kingdom · London · Boris Johnson · Northern Ireland · Ireland · Angela Merkel · Lombardy · Slovakia · Institute for American Values

TOKYO (AFP) — The coro­n­avirus re­mains ac­tive on hu­man skin for nine hours, Ja­panese re­searchers have found, in a dis­cov­ery they said showed the need for fre­quent hand wash­ing to com­bat the COVID-19 pan­demic.

The pathogen that causes the flu sur­vives on hu­man skin for about 1.8 hours by com­par­i­son, said the study pub­lished this month in the Clin­i­cal In­fec­tious Dis­eases jour­nal.

"The nine-hour sur­vival of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus strain that causes COVID-19) on hu­man skin may in­crease the risk of con­tact trans­mis­sion in com­par­i­son with IAV (in­fluenza A virus), thus ac­cel­er­at­ing the pan­demic," it said.

The re­search team tested skin col­lected from au­topsy spec­i­mens, about one day af­ter death.

Both the coro­n­avirus and the flu virus are in­ac­ti­vated within 15 sec­onds by ap­ply­ing ethanol, which is used in hand san­i­tiz­ers.

"The longer sur­vival of SARSCoV-2 on the skin in­creases con­tact­trans­mis­sion risk; how­ever, hand hy­giene can re­duce this risk," the study said.

The study backs World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion guid­ance for reg­u­lar and thor­ough hand wash­ing to limit trans­mis­sion of the virus, which has in­fected nearly 40 mil­lion peo­ple around the world since it first emerged in China late last year.

Europe bat­tles soar­ing

virus caseload

Mil­lions of Euro­peans faced tough new coro­n­avirus re­stric­tions Satur­day as gov­ern­ments stepped up ef­forts to slow the surge in in­fec­tions, af­ter the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion re­ported a "very con­cern­ing" 44 per­cent rise in Euro­pean cases over one week.

From Satur­day evening, Paris and sev­eral other French cities go un­der a night­time cur­few that will last at least a month. Eng­land is ban­ning mixed house­hold gath­er­ings in the cap­i­tal and other ar­eas, and Italy's most pop­u­lous re­gion is lim­it­ing bar open­ings and sus­pend­ing sports events.

Cases of the dis­ease, which has killed more than 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple around the world, have been soar­ing be­yond lev­els seen in the first wave ear­lier this year, when many coun­tries re­sorted to na­tional lock­downs to get con­trol of the cri­sis.

As well as the death toll, the pan­demic has wrought so­cial and eco­nomic havoc around the world.

The United States, which has suf­fered the worst toll with more than 218,000 fa­tal­i­ties, on Fri­day re­vealed a record deficit of $3.1 tril­lion in the fis­cal year ended Septem­ber 30.

It also an­nounced that the num­ber of cases there had passed eight mil­lion. Global daily in­fec­tions also hit a new record.

In a bid to stem the wor­ry­ing rise in in­fec­tions and in the hopes of head­ing off a re­turn to full lock­downs, many gov­ern­ments have tight­ened mea­sures to con­trol the spread of the pan­demic — even if some dis­senters are fight­ing back in the courts.

Cur­fews, clo­sures, le­gal bat­tles About 20 mil­lion peo­ple in the Paris re­gion and eight other French cities were fac­ing a 9 p.m.-6 a.m. cur­few from Satur­day af­ter cases surged in what has once again be­come one of Europe's ma­jor hot­pots.

French health au­thor­i­ties recorded more than 25,000 new coro­n­avirus cases, with 178 deaths.

Many restau­rant own­ers are un­happy at the hit their busi­nesses will take.

Bri­tain is the hard­est-hit coun­try in Europe, with over 43,000 deaths from al­most 700,000 cases.

But as the gov­ern­ment ramped up re­stric­tions, ban­ning in­door meet­ings be­tween mem­bers of dif­fer­ent house­holds in Lon­don and sev­eral other

English cities, there was grow­ing crit­i­cism from some quar­ters.

Un­der the new mea­sures, about 28 mil­lion peo­ple — half of Eng­land's pop­u­la­tion — are now sub­ject to tight so­cial re­stric­tions.

Some of­fi­cials in north­west Eng­land have ob­jected to their cities be­ing placed on the high­est level of a new three-tier alert sys­tem.

Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son has ac­knowl­edged that lo­cal re­stric­tion poli­cies can­not be "pain free."

But the hope is that these mea­sures will be enough to head off an­other full lock­down.

North­ern Ire­land mean­while shut down pubs and restau­rants on Fri­day for a month and ex­tended the school hol­i­days.

Surge in cases, tighter mea­sures Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel urged cit­i­zens to stay at home when­ever pos­si­ble af­ter 7,830 cases emerged over 24 hours.

"What will de­ter­mine win­ter and our Christ­mas will be de­cided in the weeks ahead by how peo­ple re­act now,” she said in her weekly pod­cast ad­dress.

In Italy, the wealthy north­ern re­gion of Lom­bardy worst hit by the first wave of the virus in Fe­bru­ary, has or­dered all bars to shut at mid­night.

Slo­vakia an­nounced Satur­day it would test ev­ery­one over 10 for the virus, as in­fec­tions surged there.

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