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COVID-19 can remain on bank notes and glass surfaces for 28 days: Study

Research emphasizes the importance of hand washing and stringent in-store cleaning regimes

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Coronavirus may remain for weeks on bank notes and glass surfaces, such as touchscreen, according to new research from the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness.

The study, which set out to examine the “effect of temperature on persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on common surfaces” shows the virus is “extremely robust.”

Polymer bank notes (like the ones used here in Canada), de-monetised paper bank notes and common surfaces, including brushed stainless steel, glass, vinyl and cotton cloth were used as substrates in this study.

The research showed SARS-CoV-2 can survive  for 28 days on smooth surfaces, such as glass on mobile phone screens or self-checkout touchscreens, and plastic banknotes, at room temperature (20 degrees Celsius/68 degrees Fahrenheit), compared to 17 days survival for the flu virus.

According to the scientists involved in the study, “These findings demonstrate SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious for significantly longer time periods than generally considered possible. These results could be used to inform improved risk mitigation procedures to prevent the fomite spread of COVID-19.

“While the primary spread of SARS-CoV-2 appears to be via aerosols and respiratory droplets, fomites may also be an important contributor in transmission of the virus.”

In essence, these findings reinforce the importance of hand-washing or using hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) after handling cash, opening doors, using an ATM, self-checkout machines or entering a PIN at checkout: All best practices for c-store operators and shoppers. In addition, the research emphasizes the importance of cleaning commonly touched surfaces, including door handles, fridges and freezers. countertops, ATMs, fuel pumps, car wash equipment and debit machines.