The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that the coronavirus (Covid-19) can be spread by airborne transmission in a closed room. Head of the Eijkman Institute of Molecular Biology Amin Subandio said the coronavirus can survive in the air for up to 8 hours.

“Oh yes, it (the Covid-19 virus) can be in the air for up to 8 hours. This is quite long that it can remain suspended in air. As per theory, droplets can fall 2 meters. But I have never measured it” Amin said in a polemic discussion titled “Covid-19 and the New Abnormalities” on Saturday (11/7).

Amin explained how the coronavirus can remain suspended in air. According to Amin, droplets released from humans will evaporate, becoming smaller particles in the air.

“The point is this: what comes out of our mouths and noses are indeed droplets. It has been known for some time that droplets are of a large size when they come out. We know that droplets are composed of the virus plus cells and water. When airborne, some of the water will evaporate. The longer it is in the air, the water content decreases. So the particles get smaller” explained Amin.

Amin also said that the risk of Covid-19 transmission through airborne transmission in hospitals is higher than in other places. According to Amin, the spread of the virus through the air in a confined space can also move a considerable distance.

“It has been discussed since the beginning of February that in hospitals the risk of contracting a virus through airborne transmission is higher. People have only just realized (the risk if spread) in confined spaces, especially spaces using air conditioners for efficiency, right? There is no air from outside, there is no exchange. So the air is re-distributed via the strong air conditioner” Amin said.

“So, in a Chinese restaurant at a large table for 10 people, it can move from one table to another. It can spread a fair distance via the air. So, with more people present, with the air recirculating, will therefore cause the concentration to increase over time” he added.

Prior to this, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been updating guidelines related to Covid-19 transmission routes and the airborne spread of the virus in closed rooms. In addition to washing hands and maintaining safe physical distancing, good ventilation must be considered.

A pulmonary expert from Friendship Hospital (RS Persahabatan) Dr. Erlang Samoedro, explained that airborne transmission occurs due to smaller droplet sizes, also called microdroplets. The size of the microdroplets are almost similar to the size of the Covid-19 virus itself.

“Normal droplets are bigger than the size of the ordinary virus particles. These microdroplets are really small, similar to the size of the virus itself; therefore they can fly far longer distances” explained Dr. Erlang on Friday (10/7).

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