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Experts say the most common way the COVID-19 virus is thought to spread is by people touching surfaces which have been contaminated by an infected patient.
The virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means the air around you will not necessarily infect you unless someone who has the virus sneezes or coughs very close to you, without covering their mouth with their hand, a tissue or a mask.
The virus is more likely to spread when somebody who has the virus, coughs or sneezes onto their hand and then touches a surface.
The virus can live on hard surfaces which are touched by a lot of people for hours at a time, scientists say, with one study suggesting it could last for up to nine days.
Protect yourself by:
- Practicing not touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid hugs and hand-shakes – use a fist or elbow bump instead.
- Wash your hands at least five times a day with warm water, soap & water or 60% alcohol hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds.
- Use a pen or your knuckles to push buttons like light switches, lift buttons, car park ticket machines and auto teller machines.
- Open public-toilet and shop or office doors with your closed fist or hip if you can, avoid using the door handles.
- Don’t touch the rails on staircases or escalators.
- Avoid large gatherings like soccer matches, concerts, clubs and taxi ranks.
- Wear disposable latex or nitrate gloves in public.
- If possible, cough or sneeze into a tissue. Use your elbow only if you have to – the clothing on your elbow could contain virus molecules.
- Wash your hands, or use hand wipes, after handling money or using your bank card at the tills.
- Use disinfectant wipes to keep your car & home doorknobs, cell phone, laptops and car/house keys clean.
- Don’t share towels at home and keep the windows of your house open to keep it well ventilated.
- Keep at least one meter distance from people in busy places – don’t bunch up in supermarket or transport ques.
- Don’t trust face masks – they won’t stop you getting the virus, they’ll only keep you from touching your nose, eyes or mouth.
- If you do get infected, use a face mask when you go out in public so you don’t spray the virus onto others when you cough or sneeze.
* This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or financial advice.