Airborne spread of novel coronavirus hasn’t been reported yet: WHO official

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 24, 2020

Dr Poonam Khetarpal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia   -  WHO

COVID-19 appears to spread mostly through respiratory droplets and close contact, says Dr Poonam Khetarpal Singh

According to the Regional Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Dr Poonam Khetarpal Singh, no airborne case of the novel coronavirus has been reported so far.

The virus is highly contagious, and is transmitted mostly through respiratory droplets and close contact, as per media reports.

Addressing a press conference, Singh said on Monday: “Airborne spread has not been reported for COVID-19. Based on the information received so far, and on our experience with other coronaviruses, COVID-19 appears to spread mostly through respiratory droplets (for instance those produced when a sick person coughs) and close contact. This is why the WHO recommends maintaining hand and respiratory hygiene.”

She mentioned that Chinese authorities think that there could be a possible aerosol transmission in confined spaces with prolonged exposure to high concentrations of aerosols. This includes ICUs and CCUs in hospitals.

She added that more testing is needed to get the data on aerosol transmission and understand this mode.

Pandemic is “accelerating”

Meanwhile, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told media in a virtual press conference on Monday that the coronavirus pandemic is “accelerating” across the world, however, it is still possible to bring the “change in trajectory” of the virus.

“The pandemic is accelerating,” he said, adding that it took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 1,00,000 cases, 11 days for the second 1,00,000 cases and just four days for the third 1,00,000 cases.

However, he also noted that “we are not helpless bystanders. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic.”

Published on March 24, 2020

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