Covid-19 Can Also Spread Via Common Surfaces Like Phones, So Remember To Keep Them Clean

The Covid-19 outbreak has gotten people scrambling to prepare all things imaginable to guard themselves — surgical masks, sanitisers and even huge piles of basic necessities.

But one thing many of us may be missing is something we hold dear every day – our phones. Yes, the devices we can’t seem to put down, among other things we touch regularly, can also pose a risk to our health.

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In a report by Channel NewsAsia (CNA), director of medical services at the Ministry of Health (MOH) Kenneth Mak reminded the public that the virus can also spread via contaminated surfaces.

Cleaning dirty surfaces more important than masks

This is part of the Ministry’s response against a circulating letter that advises people to wear masks at all times. It is purportedly signed by 4 medical doctors.

Here’s the letter, in case you haven’t seen it:

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How the virus spreads is pretty straightforward – touch a contaminated surface, and then touch your eyes, mouth or nose with the same unwashed hands, and you may be at risk.

The other confirmed pathway is direct transmission, in which you’d have to be close to an infected person to come into contact with droplets from their sneeze or cough.

Since chances of the former are more likely than the latter, Mr Mak said, “it is not wearing a mask that’s important, it’s hand washing”.

Hand-washing and sanitising still the best defence

Perhaps to quell public anxiety, Mr Mak added that there is no evidence that Covid-19 is airborne.

Therefore, wearing a mask will protect you from people’s sneeze or cough residues at best, which you can otherwise avoid by steering clear of crowds.

Instead, hand washing and good hygiene may be the best community defences available, especially since we touch so many objects throughout the day.

Mr Mak said:

The best form of advice I can give you to defend yourself is, in fact, washing your hands regularly and frequently with soap and water, and also to be mindful of the things that you commonly touch.

Phones are more dangerous than you might think

Remember that statistic a while back that your phone is 10x dirtier than your toilet seat? Yeah, that’s relevant again.

Of all the surfaces we come into contact with daily, your phone is likely the biggest infection risk.

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As Mr Mak put it:

You may want to make sure you that you clean the surfaces of your phone as well, as you touch it. It’s subconscious, we often do that, but these are the important things to make sure you protect yourself.

Our phones are among the most commonly touched surfaces, along with doorknobs, desks, keys, and wallets. These seemingly innocuous objects often escape our attention and scrutiny, and that is in fact what makes them dangerous.

It’s not the things that you see that’ll get you – it’s the things that you don’t.

So instead of panicking, mass-buying groceries, and wearing masks like it’s going out of fashion, maybe we should look at disinfecting our phones first. And washing our hands. And maybe just being more hygienic in general.

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In conclusion, just wash your hands and sanitise your surfaces. Keep yourself clean before worrying about other people. Odds are, just like with termites, the threat could come from within the home.

Featured image adapted from freepik.