THERE IS “emerging evidence” coronavirus is capable of spreading further than two metres through the air, the World Health Organisation has warned (WHO).
According to the WHO, an international group of scientists has concluded the virus is capable of travelling further than the two-metre physical distancing guideline currently in place.
This latest development could result in major disruption to many of the plans in place for the gradual reopening of society in Ireland and other countries around the world.
It comes after a group of 239 international scientists concluded that exhaled droplets under five micrometres in size containing the virus are capable of becoming suspended in the air for several hours and traveling up to tens of metres.
Speaking in a virtual press conference, Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical lead on infection control, said: “We acknowledge that there is emerging evidence in this field.
“We believe that we have to be open to this evidence and understand its implications regarding the modes of transmission and also regarding the precautions that need to be taken,” she added.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, said the UN health agency would be producing a scientific notice consolidating its emerging knowledge on transmission of the virus.
“We will be issuing our brief in the coming days, and that will outline everything that we have in this area,” she said.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, meanwhile, has warned that the pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down.
Around 400,000 new cases were reported, globally, over the weekend. By comparison, it took 12 weeks for the number of global cases of Covid-19 to reach 400,000.
“The outbreak is accelerating and we’ve clearly not reached the peak of the pandemic,” Tedros warned
“While the number of deaths appears to have levelled off globally, in reality some countries have made significant progress in reducing the number of deaths, while in other countries deaths are still on the rise.”
The WHO has also confirmed it is sending an animal health expert and an epidemiologist to China to begin work on an investigation into the animal origins of the new coronavirus.