It has still not been proven if people can catch the novel coronavirus by touching surfaces where it lingers, such as handles, doorknobs or keyboards, cautioned the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday.
Nonetheless, it is recommended that people disinfect objects, according to guidelines issued by the United Nations agency.
The guidelines reference a study that showed the virus could survive on the outside of a medical face mask for up to seven days.
But the WHO also noted that studies about the ability of the coronavirus to survive should be viewed with some skepticism since such studies are conducted in laboratories with little bearing on real-world conditions.
In the mentioned study, the virus survived on stainless steel and plastic for four days, on glass for two and on fabric and wood for one. Another study showed it surviving for four hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard and 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel.
Although there have been no cases to date of people catching the virus from a surface, such transmission can't be ruled out given the behavior of other known coronaviruses. That's why it is important to disinfect surfaces of objects like sinks, toilets, electronic devices and handholds, the WHO says.
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