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Coronavirus can survive for over 28 days on various surfaces such as cellphones and bank notes

A message circulating on WhatsApp platforms stated that the Coronavirus can survive on money and cellphones for over 28 days.

Claim: Coronavirus can survive for over 28 days on various surfaces such as cellphones and bank notes

Source: A message circulating on WhatsApp platforms stated that the Coronavirus can survive on money and cellphones for over 28 days.

Verdict : Inconclusive

Earlier reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO) had suggested that the virus cannot live outside its host for over 72 hours.

The reports note that depending on the nature of the surface, a virus can survive between 8 to 72 hours. 

In this report titled: COVID-19 and food safety: guidance for food businesses (https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331705/WHO-2019-nCoV-Food_Safety-2020.1-eng.pdf), the longest number of hours that the virus can survive on surfaces is 72 hours. 

“Recent research evaluated the survival of the COVID-19 virus on different surfaces and reported that the virus can remain viable for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, up to four hours on copper, and up to 24 hours on cardboard. This research was conducted under laboratory conditions (controlled relative humidity and temperature) and should be interpreted with caution in the real-life environment,” read the report.

Health practitioner Dr Norman Matara also concurred with the report, citing that for a virus to survive it needs a host tissue. 

Dr Matara noted that the longest that a virus can survive is between eight hours and 72 hours depending on the surface where the virus would be.

“It is impossible for a virus to stay that long outside a host. Various viruses have various life spans outside their hosts depending on the surface where they would be. Some can only survive for eight hours while some can live for upto 72 hours but to say they can stay for as long as 28 days would be incorrect information,” said Dr Matara.

Health practitioner Dr Norman Matara

However, researchers from Australia’s national science agency CSIRO recently found that the COVID-19 coronavirus can survive on certain surfaces—such as banknotes and phone screens—for up to 28 days, roughly seven times longer than previous experiments suggested

(https://fortune.com/2020/10/12/covid-19-survives-28-days-on-phone-screens-money/).

“These findings demonstrate SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious for significantly longer time periods than generally considered possible. These results could be used to inform improved risk mitigation procedures to prevent the fomite spread of COVID-19,” the researchers wrote in their conclusion, published in Virology Journal. (A fomite is an inanimate object contaminated by an infectious agent.), the report concluded.

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