Coronavirus: WHO reveals how far virus can travel in the air – how to protect yourself

Coronavirus has put a halt to society as we know it. How far can the viral infection travel in the open air? And how can Britons protect themselves from catching the disease?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) explained how one person presenting symptoms of coronavirus can easily spread the disease to others.

When an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes, the droplets produced can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby.

The droplets can travel for approximately one metre in the air, the WHO confirmed.


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This is because the droplets are too heavy to travel much further.

Instead, the droplets quickly settle on surfaces after one metre; the exact time the virus can survive on surfaces is not yet known.

Currently, there’s debate in the scientific community whether the disease is airborne.

Airborne viruses can linger for longer in the air, and can also spread in air conditioning and ventilation systems.

As this has not yet been confirmed or dismissed, British government guidelines instruct people to stay at least two metres away from others – not from the same household – when leaving their homes.

At present, the only permissible reasons Britons are permitted to go outside are:

  1. Shopping for basic necessities, such as food or medicine
  2. Daily exercise
  3. Seeking medical assistance, or escaping a risk of harm
  4. Providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  5. Travelling to and from work, when absolutely necessary
  6. Attending the funeral of a member of your household or close relative
  7. Fulfilling legal obligations, such as attending court
  8. Accessing critical public services, including childcare and social services
  9. Allowing children of separated parents to move between households
  10. Moving house where reasonably necessary

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson – who is currently in an intensive care unit suffering from the virus himself – had a letter sent out to the nation urging people to “stay at home”.

The daily government briefing updates Britons as to the latest steps to tackle the coronavirus.

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The deadly virus is called SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes is called Covid-19.

To help prevent the spread of infection, and to reduce your chances of catching the disease, basic hygiene standards are recommended.

The NHS – who are bravely tackling this pandemic – elaborate on “the easiest way to protect yourself”.

And this is to wash your hands, but in the most effective way possible.


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The length of time spent washing your hands – each time – should be 20 seconds.

This is just long enough to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

Every time, one must wet their hands with water, apply soap to cover the hands and rub their hands together.

Next, use one hand to rub the back of the other hand and clean in between the fingers. Then repeat with the other hand.

Don’t think you’re done there. You must then rub your hands together and clean between the fingers again.

Then you need to rub the back of your fingers against your palms.

Afterwards, rub your thumb using the other hand and repeat with the other thumb.

Finally, rub the tips of your fingers on the palm of your other hand and do the same with the other hand, before rinsing your hands with water.

Don’t forget to dry your hands with a disposable towel, which you then use to turn off the taps.

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