WHO says virus may be airborne indoors


The World Health Organization has said the novel coronavirus can linger in the air indoors.

In a reversal of previous statements, the agency officially acknowledged that droplets carrying the virus may be airborne indoors and that people who spend long periods in crowded settings with poor ventilation may be at risk of infection.

WHO officials acknowledged "emerging evidence" about airborne spread July 7 after a group of scientists urged the organization to update its recommendations. The WHO previously held that research regarding airborne transmission indoors was inconclusive.  

People should perform proper hand hygiene, avoid close contact with infected people, and "avoid crowded places, close-contact settings, and confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation," according to the WHO.

The agency still features transmission via larger droplets that are coughed or inhaled, or from contact with a contaminated surface as the main ways the virus spreads. However, according to the CDC, the virus "does not spread easily" on surfaces or objects.

On July 9, the WHO also said the virus can, without a doubt, be transmitted by people who are asymptomatic.

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