How long can COVID-19 really live on surfaces in your home?

Omicron: Commuters have their say over coronavirus measures

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Coronavirus restrictions have been tightened once again in Britain as the new Omicron variant continues to spread. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier this week that the new strain of Covid is a cause for concern – but just how long can the virus stay active around your home? Express.co.uk spoke to the experts to find just how cautious we should be about bacteria lingering around our property while isolating with Covid.

Britain’s coronavirus vaccine efforts mean that those who have been fully vaccinated do not have to complete a 10 day isolation period, if named as a contact of a Covid-positive person.

Guidance by the NHS states: “If you live with or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, you will not need to self isolate if any of the following apply.”

Being fully vaccinated, under 18.5 years of age, taking part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial or being unvaccinated for medical reasons are all exemptions to the contact self-isolation rule.

But if you’re living with someone who has tested positive for the virus, what should you do to keep your home clean and free from the bacteria which causes coronavirus?

What are the key habits to prevent COVID-19?

The Government’s emphasis on hand washing and wearing face coverings has been reinforced under the latest guidance, which comes as cases of the new Omicron variant continue to rise.

While the Health and Safety Executive guidance details how to clean the workplace and public venues to tackle coronavirus, there is little detail on how to deal with it in the home.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Shaun Doak, CEO of REACT Specialist Cleaning said: “Personal hygiene is an important factor when trying to keep Covid out of the home.

“Our hands are the most likely body part that will come into contact with any infected surfaces so we need to keep the 20-second rule for washing our hands as a priority, especially with the spread of the new variant.”

How long does the virus that causes COVID-19 last on surfaces?

There is much debate over how long Covid can last on surfaces and exactly how well it can be transmitted through contact with anything from tables to door handles around the home.

Hussain Abdeh, Clinical Director and Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct told Express.co.uk: “Catching COVID-19 via infected surfaces is very unlikely, however, the virus can survive on surfaces for extended periods; how long it lives depends on the type of surface it lands on.”

Hussain explained that the biggest culprit is metal surfaces, such as door knobs and silverware, adding that Covid can survive for as long as nine days on these types of surfaces.

According to Hussain, some strains of the coronavirus can survive for:

  • Up to five days on drinking glasses and ceramics
  • Up to five days on paper – newspapers and letters
  • Up to three hours in the air – airborne particles

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Reducing the spread of COVID-19 in your household

Containing the virus when living with a person who has tested positive for Covid in your home is easier than you may think, but it is important to cover all bases when identifying potential contact surfaces the virus could live on.

Shaun added: “The virus can spread via bacteria on key touch points, such as tables, handles, taps, TV remotes.

“Always wash with warm soapy water first, before applying a virucidal spray – these should be cleaned at least twice a day.”

Some top tips to limit the spread of coronavirus within your household include:

  • Keep cutlery used by a Covid-positive person separate from your own and thoroughly disinfect it after it has been used.
  • Open doors for the infected person and wipe every metal surface they touch – such as taps, with antibacterial spray or wipes.

COVID-19 can be spread through the inhalation of airborne particles which can move through a room even after the infected person has left.

Shaun recommends investing in a portable air and surface cleaning system which will purify the air circulating in your home, adding: “You can get these from suppliers, such as Biozone.”

The best way to keep Covid out of the home is to think about the spaces and objects that you will be sharing with others and how best to avoid this or keep them clean.

Shaun told Express.co.uk: “There’s one more step people always forget.

“At the end of your cleaning routine, make sure to sanitise all your cleaning cloths and sponges as they may still carry some of the bacteria you have been removing from your home.

“Simply microwave the sponges for 30 seconds, and then they’re ready to be used again.”

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