Is It Safe To Share Personal Belongings During COVID-19? Experts Explain

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Malaysia keeps on rising and as does our fear of touching anything. We’ve seen Singaporeans putting condoms over their fingers to avoid touching elevator buttons in their apartment building and others attempting to open entryways with their elbows.

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There is still plenty we don’t know about the illness, but one thing we do know for sure is that we can catch the infection by touching certain things contaminated with Covid-19. So, is it safe to share in the era of Coronavirus? 

How long does the virus stay on surfaces?

So to what extent does coronavirus last on different surfaces? A study carried out this week finds that the infection can survive on hard surfaces, for example, plastic and hardened steel for as long as 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours

“This virus has the capability for remaining viable for days,” says study author, James Lloyd-Smith, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Los Angeles. (Source: NPR)

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Although the World Health Organization had previously estimated the survival time on surfaces to be a “few hours to a few days” based on research on other coronaviruses, this is the first study by scientists at a federal laboratory to test the actual virus causing the current pandemic, SARS-CoV-2.

But what about our clothing? 

Dr Akash Patel a GP and Medical Director at My Healthcare Clinic explained that the official length of time the virus can live on fabrics is still unknown.

He said: “We are still continuing to find out more about the coronavirus day by day, there is currently not enough research to say with any certainty how long the coronavirus will live on clothing.” Dr Akash added, “However it is likely that the virus will not survive as long on soft surfaces.”

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The medical expert went on to share some advice for washing clothesespecially if someone in your house is confirmed or suspected to have coronavirus:

“If you are handling dirty laundry from a person who is confirmed or suspected to have coronavirus, you should wear disposable gloves if possible, if not – please wash your hands appropriately after handling their clothing before you touch your face or other surfaces,” he said.

And how about ‘’sharing’’ food? 

“Food is probably not a major risk factor here,” says Daniel Kuritzkes, an infectious disease expert at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. That’s because most infection from the new coronavirus starts with the respiratory system, not the digestive tract. So infection comes from getting the virus on your hands and then touching your own eyes, nose and mouth. 

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“Of more concern would be utensils, and plates and cups that might be handled by a large number of people in a cafeteria setting, for example,” says Kuritzkes. (Source: News Collective)

With that being said, it is best to take precaution and not to share anything during the COVID-19 outbreak. Especially if it’s personal. But, in case of emergency, take a page from Naomi Campbell’s book and wipe all your personal stuff or packages with disinfectant wipes before using them. Remember guys, #StaySafe #StayHome #DudukRumah. We got this, Malaysian!