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On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that there is no proof of the airborne spread of Covid-19 as yet.

Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO (Southeast Asia), said in a statement, “Airborne spread has not been reported for Covid-19. Based on the information and on our experience with other coronaviruses, Covid-19 appears to spread mostly through respiratory droplets, for instance, produced when a sick person coughs, and close contact.”

“This is why the WHO recommends maintaining hand and respiratory hygiene.”

Maria Van Kerkhove, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist and Covid-19 Technical Lead of WHO, while addressing the media at WHO headquarters on Monday said that Covid-19 was not airborne. “It spreads via droplet and contact transmission,” she added.

A news article that claimed that Covid-19 is an airborne disease and can stay in the air for 8 hours was doing the rounds on social media. This caused widespread panic amongst people, and this is why the WHO had to clarify it.

An airborne germ transmission takes place when diseases and viruses are transmitted as tiny particles by air currents. While in the case of Covid-19, the germs are transmitted from one person to another by moisture droplets expelled through the nose or mouth by sneezing or coughing. This is known as a droplet infection.

Earlier, Chinese authorities had reported the possibility of aerosol transmission in a relatively closed environment with prolonged exposure like ICUs & CCUs in hospitals, but more data analysis is needed to understand this. This claim has turned the relief provided by WHO to partial relief.


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