Coronavirus and Sanitation Information Sheet

10th March 2020 | coronavirus, disinfection, sanitation

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a virus believed to have originated in Wuhan, China and a severe form of pneumonia can develop in those who contract the disease. COVID-19 is known to spread from personal contact, with tens of thousands of people now infected around the world. Unfortunately, some persons infected with COVID-19 have died and the issue continues to develop globally.

Very little is known about the complex nature of the sensitivity of this new strain of coronavirus to germicide testing; for this reason, it is important to consider facts previously established by scientists regarding the coronavirus family.

Coronavirus Facts

On the persistence of coronavirus on inanimate surfaces and sensitivity to germicides:

  • Coronavirus belongs to the family of enveloped virus, lipid or medium size viruses. Other viruses in this family are Herpes, HIV, and Ebola.
  • Enveloped viruses are the least resistant to germicidal chemicals of microorganisms. It is less resistant to germicidal chemicals than vegetative bacteria, such as p. Aeruginosa, s. Aureus and salmonella, the first two of which were challenge tested in the TGA Hospital Grade Disinfection protocol. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not specified the requirement of a “novel” type of disinfectant; rather, it stated that where facilities are handling this infection, “Cleaning environmental surfaces with water and detergent and applying commonly used hospital disinfectants (e.g., Sodium Hypochlorite) is an effective and sufficient procedure.”
  • Enveloped viruses survive on inanimate surfaces for a very limited time – for a significantly shorter period than non-enveloped viruses, bacteria, spores, and fungi. The statement made by Australian Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, supports this: “The coronavirus was being spread by “droplets” and it was not an airborne disease like measles. These droplets are spread when people cough or sneeze, but they rapidly die once they hit a surface.”

Disinfectants

As of now, there have been no germicide challenge tests completed for this strain of the coronavirus; hence, no germicide can make any “kill” claim. However, in this interim period, the “best possible” sanitation procedure is still required.

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