COVID Airborne: Centre revises guidelines, says virus spreads when infected people cough, sneeze or talk

COVID Airborne: Centre revises guidelines, says virus spreads when infected people cough, sneeze or talk

The advisory further adds that saliva and nasal discharge in the form of droplets and aerosols carry the virus from one person to another.

The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said that the COVID-19 virus spreads “predominantly through the airborne route and droplet released when the infected person coughs, sneezes or talks”. Revising its Covid-19 clinical management guidelines, the government has changed its last year’s protocol which stated that the infection spreads through close contact.

“These droplets may also land on surfaces, where the virus has been seen to remain viable for a variable duration of time depending on the type of surface. Infection can also occur if a person touches an infected surface and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. (known as fomite transmission),” the Health Ministry’s National Clinical Management Protocol for Covid-19 stated.

Earlier, the office of the principal scientific adviser to the government issued a guideline stating that the infected aerosols can be carried in the air up to 10 meters.

“Current evidence suggests that the virus spreads mainly between people who are in close contact with each other, typically within 1 metre (short-range). A person can be infected when aerosols or droplets containing the virus are inhaled or come directly into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time in physical proximity. This is because aerosols remain suspended in the air or may travel farther than 1 metre (long-range),” the revised protocol said, attributing the findings to the World Health Organization.

COVID Airborne: Centre revises guidelines, says virus spreads when infected people cough, sneeze or talk
Aerosols 'key transmission mode' of COVID-19, can travel up to 10 metres: Government issues fresh guidelines

In its advisory ‘Stop the Transmission, Crush the Pandemic-Masks, Distance, Sanitation and Ventilation to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus’, the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) noted that well-ventilated spaces play a crucial role in diluting the COVID-19 viral load of infected air and help in decreasing the risk of transmission from one infected person to the other.

The advisory further adds that saliva and nasal discharge in the form of droplets and aerosols carry the virus from one person to another. Larger size droplets fall to the ground and on surfaces, and smaller aerosol particles are carried in the air to greater distances, the advisory further adds.

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