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FACT CHECK: Studies show that coronavirus can survive on surfaces for more than 12 hours

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The claim that Coronavirus can only live up to 12 hours on surfaces is incorrect. As of now, there is no clear information on the lifespan of the novel coronavirus

Recently, to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus in India, Prime Minister urged the people of India to observe a self-implemented curfew, 'Janta-Curfew', on March 22 from 7 AM to 9 PM. Following which, adding to the number of fake news being circulated about Coronavirus, many social media users started sharing a message on claiming that Coronavirus has a life-span of only 12 hours, so during the 14-hour-long curfew, all the virus will be killed, breaking the chain of infection and will make India safe.

A widely circulated WhatsApp message reads, "What will be the result of 14-hour public curfew? The lifespan of the coronavirus is 12 hours at one location, and the Jantacurfew will be for 14 hours, so there will be no one to get infected by it, causing the chain to break.
What we get after 14 hours will be a safe country.
 The idea behind this Janata curfew is brilliant. It will be like a drill, even if more time is required in the near future… yet we are all ready for it. (This is a message. There is a resolution. There is conflict. To fight the disaster.) Jai Hind. Vande Mataram. Everyone is requested to send this message to every individual or group." (Translated from Hindi)

twitter user also shared a similar message which goes like, "Social distancing for 14 - 24 hours is the best solution for a massive country like India. Coronavirus can survive on a surface for 12 hours only. Therefore, #JanataCurfew is a timely step."

Another variant of the message doing rounds on Twitter reads, Idea behind #JantaCarfew: Life of the coronavirus at one place is a maximum of 12 hrs. The curfew is for 14 hrs. So the places where the virus lives will not be touched for 14 hours, which will break the chain of infection and make India safe. #IndiaFightsCorona #CoronaFreeIndia."

The truth behind the claim

In our investigation, we found the claim that Coronavirus can survive only for 12 hours is incorrect. 

According to the World Health Organisation, “Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).”

As per a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 17, the virus can remain in the air for up to three hours and it may last longer on other surfaces,i.e, up to 24 hours on cardboard surfaces and up to two to three days on plastic and metal surfaces.

Another study in The Journal of Hospital Infection suggests that coronaviruses can remain on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to nine days.

As there is no clear information on the lifespan of the novel coronavirus, the WHO recommends cleaning a surface one thinks is infected with a simple disinfectant to kill the virus in order to protect yourself and others.

In conclusion, the claim that Coronavirus can only live up to 12 hours on surfaces is incorrect. As of now, there is no clear information on the lifespan of the novel coronavirus

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