Is transmission of COVID-19 airborne? Possibility included in WHO's updated guidelines

Every new strain or mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2 is emerging more infectious than the previous one

FPJ Web Desk | Updated on: Tuesday, May 04, 2021, 08:58 PM IST


It's been a year that the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic. After a year too the virus has not been able to contain yet despite taking numerous precautions and producing several vaccines. The outbreak has infact doubled in many countries creating a crisis situation and resulting in deaths in huge numbers. Besides vaccines, an Indian pharmaceutical company has announced a drug that can potentially treat Covid-19 giving hope that doctors will now actually be able to control the disease.

The virus is still invisible and difficult to detect in general. It is highly contagious. Every new strain or mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2 is emerging more infectious than the previous one.

According to World Health Organisation's latest guidelines, there is a possibility of airborne transmission of Covid-19 in an indoor or non-ventilated setting.

"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," it said.

It said that the virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time. This is because aerosols remain suspended in the air or travel farther than 1 metre (long-range).

People may also become infected by touching surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus when touching their eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning their hands, WHO said.

Earlier, it was emphasised that coronavirus does not travel beyond six-foot or one metre from an infected person, who spews the virus while speaking, breathing, sneezing, coughing, or singing.

Going with the current situation in India, the task force has advised wearing a mask even indoors if there is somebody infected with the virus or if a number of people have the disease in an area. The govt has already mentioned since last year that two-metre distance should be maintained.


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Published on: Tuesday, May 04, 2021, 08:58 PM IST