Better safe than sorry, health experts say on chances of Covid-19 transmission through touch
Dr Kuljit Singh, president of the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia, said he agreed with the CDC findings but that it remained advisable to take extra care especially in public places.
He said the lifespan of the Covid-19 virus outside the human body remains unknown as much depends on factors such as temperature, surface type and the type of virus itself.
He added that transmission could occur quickly if someone were to sneeze or cough, and the spray contaminates the area.
“I understand what the CDC is trying to say, but imagine if someone were to touch a contaminated surface almost immediately after a person has sneezed or coughed on it.
“It’s difficult to give an answer on how long a virus can live outside a host,” he said.
However, Kuljit also acknowledged that people cannot expect every area they visit to be disinfected before they feel safe.
“It’s best to take precautions by sanitising your hands frequently and wearing a proper mask,” he said. “We try to do it with common sense. Keep your hands clean and don’t touch everything.”
Fear of contracting Covid-19 through contaminated surfaces had initially sparked a trend of glove wearing, with some commercial outlets still providing disposable gloves for customers upon entry to the premises.
But Kuljit warned that this practice could do more harm than good, saying the use of gloves might lull users into a false sense of security.
“Once someone wears plastic gloves, psychologically they think they are protected. But they will touch everything everywhere because they think they are protected, not knowing that the virus will be transmitting even faster,” he said.
Even in hospitals, the use of gloves is not encouraged, he said.
“In some hospitals we don’t allow patients to come in with gloves. They give a sense of security for themselves but become dangerous to others.”