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Experts suggest to switch off air-conditioners and get fresh air to reduce coronavirus infection risk

Apart from washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, experts also suggested that people should switch off the air-conditioners, get fresh air and start using fans to lower the chances of getting infected by the Novel Coronavirus.

On 10 February, nine of Singapore’s top infectious disease experts have gathered in a press conference to address a range of questions on the coronavirus.

Singapore has so far reported 47 cases of the virus infection.

The Health Ministry’s chief health scientist Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said in the press conference that the likelihood of viral persistence outdoors is lower, The Straits Times reported.

Prof Tan said following the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) incident in 2003, numerous research studies have been conducted on the virus persistence on surfaces.

He noted that most of the research studies indicated that viruses don’t persist well in hot and humid environments.

“Hot and humid meaning over 30 degrees Celsius, and with humidity levels of over 80 per cent,” Prof Tan added.

Furthermore, the director of the Infectious Disease Research and Training Office National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) Associate Professor David Lye said the coronavirus is likely to survive within one to three hours in a hot and humid environment.

However, Assoc Prof Lye cautioned that the virus may thrive for a longer period in an air-conditioned room.

“Perhaps now is the time to turn off your air-con and just enjoy the breeze and the sun. In an open space, you really won’t catch it from a passing person,” Assoc Prof Lye said.

Another way to reduce the spread of the infected disease is by keeping the windows and doors open, experts suggested.

Based on a document by the World Health Organisation, suspected patients should be kept in rooms that are well-ventilated.

Director of the programme in emerging infectious diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School Professor Wang Linfa said ultraviolet rays and heat from the sun have the potential to eliminate the virus.

“If you can stay under the sun for a while, it would be good. Vitamin D can also boost the immune system,” Prof Wang added.

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