By Jason Bryce
Widely reported research published this week in Virology Journal by the CSIRO and the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ADCP) in Geelong found that COVID-19 can survive for significant periods on non-porous surfaces. The experiment was conducted in a dark area, with artificial mediums using high loads of virus.
Professor of Infectious Diseases, Peter Collignon from the Australian National University told The Guardian that surfaces exposed to sunlight do not carry COVID-19.
“Ninety per cent of the problem and the transmission is related to being close to people who cough over you or sneeze over you or send you droplets,” said Professor Collignan.
“Probably around 10% of transmission is likely to be just hands and surfaces.”
The study’s lead author Shane Riddell told AAP that real world results would likely be shorter than what we were able to show.”
Professor Ron Eccles, former director Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University said the suggestion that the virus could survive for 28 days was causing "unnecessary fear in the public."
"In my opinion infectious viruses will only persist for hours in mucus on surfaces rather than days, Professor Eccles told the BBC.
Professor Emanuel Goldman, from Rutgers University found in July that "transmission on surfaces is unlikely."
Studies that suggest otherwise bear "little resemblance to real-life scenarios" said Professor Goldman.
Professor Julie Leask, School of Nursing, University of Sydney said on Twitter that the Riddell study “shows it’s still close contact with an infected person that is risky and not from touching their mobile phone 5 days later.”
“It is not a study of how people are most likely to get COVID-19. It’s a study of the max time virus can remain viable on surfaces. 28 days was the *maximum* (not average). If being viable for days on surfaces were a major method of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, we would be seeing a lot of unexplained cases we cannot link.”
“There is nothing wrong with the study,” said Wolfram Seidemann, Chairman, International Currency Association, “But it was carried out with a high load of virus and in the dark (as UV light is thought to help kill the virus).
Sandra Smith from the ATMIA (Asia Pacific) said cash from an ATM is clean and trusted by millions of people.
“The WHO, Australian health authorities, the Royal Australian Mint and the RBA have all confirmed that cash is not a virus risk if the health advice is followed – hand sanitising, distancing and masking.”
“Cash withdrawn from an Australian ATM is clean and can be trusted and used with confidence.”
Cash Welcome is a cash industry initiative to give a voice to the millions of Australians to trust and rely on cash.
The essential role of cash in the economy is recognised in last week’s Reserve Bank of Australia Payment System Board update. However, unlike the RBNZ, the RBA does not propose concrete actions to protect the cash economy.
Finally, we could be getting towards an answer to the big question – Is New Zealand becoming a cashless society? Will cash be banned in New Zealand?