Wuhan coronavirus can survive for 5 days outside the body: Chinese expert

Washing hands frequently proves effective to reduce chances of contracting the virus

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A man wears a face mask as he walks past a closed tourist attraction in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province.

A man wears a face mask as he walks past a closed tourist attraction in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Chinese health expert revealed that the novel coronavirus originating in Wuhan can survive five days outside of the human body and urged members of the public to wash their hands frequently for their own protection.

Jiang Rongmeng (蔣榮猛), a doctor at the Ditan Hospital in Beijing and a member of the National Health Commission of China, said that the coronavirus 2019-nCoV can live up to five days at the right temperatures and humidity levels, reported CCTV. He made the revelation at a news briefing on Hubei Province’s effort to fight the spread of the illness on Monday (Feb. 3).

An ambient temperature of 20 degrees Celsius plus a humidity level of 40 to 50 percent are conducive to the survival of the Wuhan virus, Jiang said.

There have been reports of DNA samples collected from a confirmed patient’s home in Guangzhou testing positive for the novel coronavirus, an example of how the virus can survive on surfaces. This means rigorous hygiene practices including washing hands with soap are crucial to fending off the potentially deadly virus, which has afflicted over 20,000 with more than 400 fatalities.

While some infections appear to have been asymptomatic since the outbreak in late December, Jiang noted there has been no evidence of virus mutations at this stage. He added that developments are being closely monitored.