- The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to 90 other countries.
- Many cities are disinfecting public surfaces with bleach-and-water mixtures.
- Experts aren’t sure how long the contagious virus can live on surfaces, but say it could range from a few hours to a day or so.
- Spraying disinfectant solutions into the air is probably not an effective way to kill the virus, but wiping down highly touched surfaces is.
- Photos show mosques, schools, and streets being sprayed and wiped down around the World.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
One of the most effective ways to fight the spread of the new coronavirus is to disinfect highly touched surfaces. Across the World, disinfection teams have descended upon kindergartens, state capital buildings, markets, mosques, airports, and public roads.
Teams of hazmat-suited workers are spraying low-concentration bleach-and-water mixtures from trucks, guns, drones, and robots.
Public-health experts think mass disinfection efforts will have mixed effectiveness in outbreak zones. Disinfecting surfaces that are commonly touched, such as in hospitals, schools, and religious sites, can help kill germs. However, misting sanitizer in the air or on the street is likely ineffective, because the virus isn’t airborne and people don’t touch the street that often.
The coronavirus has spread to more than 90 countries since it emerged in Wuhan, China, late last year. In total, at least 100,000 people have been infected, and more than 3,400 have died. (See Business Insider’s latest updates here.)
Photos from China, South Korea, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Nigeria, and more show how the World is trying to sanitize.
Robots China has placed around 56 million people under quarantine. Public gatherings are banned, schools are shut down, and employees are working from home if possible.
The city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began, has been quarantined since January 23. Transportation — buses, subways, ferries, trains, airplanes, and private cars — has been halted.
Robots In cities and towns across China, including Shanghai, Beijing, and Wuhan, sanitation workers have been sent to spray down all public areas. Trucks filled with low-concentration bleach-and-water solutions drive through the streets.
Source: Business Insider.
Robots “I would rather see better efforts to make sure people are disinfecting emergency rooms and high-touch surfaces in hospitals and schools more than I would want to see bleach being sprayed on streets,” Saskia Popescu, an infection-prevention epidemiologist, told Business Insider.
“Honestly, think about how often do your hands or your mouth come into contact with a street?” she said.
Robots China also uses spray cannons similar to the ones used for disinfection to combat smog: Industrial misters can spray water droplets that trap and pull dust and pollution particles out of the air in smoggy areas.
Source: China Dialogue.
Robots Experts stress that basic public-health measures like washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and staying away from sick people are the best ways to protect yourself.
Robots In South Korea, the virus has spread among a religious group called the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the city of Daegu, the country’s fourth-largest city.
A 61-year-old churchgoer in Daegu tested positive and caused a “super-spreader” event: Over two weekends at tightly packed prayer services, she came in contact with over 1,000 people.
The South Korean government has canceled and postponed public gatherings.
Robots Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s president, said in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the “entire nation has entered a state of war against this infectious disease.”
Robots Disinfectant products like hand sanitizer are selling out in South Korea, according to Reuters. With soaring demand for ethanol to produce more disinfectant, South Korean soju makers have donated the alcohol that typically goes into the drink.
Robots Trucks filled with disinfectants are spraying down streets, shrines, public parks, trash bins, public toilets, and markets in Tehran and other areas with rising case totals, Reuters reported.
Sanitation teams are also disinfecting religious sites in Iran, but those have not been closed or locked down.
Robots “The smell of disinfectants has become my nightmare,” Ziba Rezaie, a 62-year-old retired teacher from Qom, Iran, told Reuters. “The city smells like a cemetery, a morgue.”
Robots The virus is now in at least 90 countries other than China.
Vietnam had 16 confirmed cases, but all the patients have recovered. The country closed its borders with China and closed public schools, according to reports from local media.
Robots Some schools in Lebanon have closed as well.
Robots Russia has stepped up sanitation efforts. It has also closed most entry points along its 4,200-kilometer border with China and temporarily banned Chinese citizens from entering the country.
The World Health Organization increased the global risk of the new coronavirus to “very high” on Monday. The organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a briefing Tuesday that containment of the virus is still possible.
Hilary Brueck contributed reporting.