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COVID-19: How Long Does Coronavirus Last on Your Phone, Cash & Delivery Packages?

COVID-19: How Long Does Coronavirus Last on Your Phone, Cash & Delivery Packages?

Studies have shown that our humble cellphone consists of 10 times more germs than a toilet seat. Let's not ignore such sources of contamination and stay clean!

As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc in the lives of people around the globe, medical experts are urging everyone to maintain personal hygiene, beginning with social distancing and washing hands several times a day.

While these are, no doubt, the best methods to combat this deadly pandemic, it is of utmost importance to adopt certain practices that ensure no transfer of virus through contact with another person or any inanimate surface. 

A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine assesses the stability of COVID-19 in aerosols and on five different surfaces like aerosols, plastic, stainless steel, copper, and cardboard, and estimates their respective decay rates.
According to the study:
  • The virus remains viable in aerosols (liquid droplets in air) for around 3 hours
  • It was more stable on surfaces like plastic & stainless steel than copper or cardboard
  • The stability of both the strains of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-1 and its evolved form SARS-CoV-2 were found to be almost similar, though SARS-CoV-2 was found to survive a little longer on cardboard.
  • The study also ruled that it is plausible for the SARS-CoV-2 to be transmitted from an infected person who is asymptomatic.

The following infographic reveals the survival time of the virus on the five surfaces mentioned above.


Here is a list of precautions you should follow in different situations to avoid the transmission of the deadly virus.

1. Dab while sneezing/coughing

It is generally recommended that you see a doctor and possibly get the Covid-19 test done if you are suffering from cold and cough. However, even if your ailment is a mere seasonal flu, it is always best to sneeze or cough into your elbow instead of your palms. 

Whether you are in the presence of another person or alone, this simple step can go a long way in keeping you healthy. Also, remember to wash your hands (for 20 seconds) every time you sneeze or cough. 

If you have a consistent cold, do not forget to put on a protective mask.

2. Keeping your phone clean

Now that most of us are quarantined inside our homes, our smartphones are inevitably becoming our only companions. Unfortunately, studies have shown that our humble cellphone consists of 10 times more germs than a toilet seat, and COVID-19 tends to survive on plastic surfaces for up to 3 days or more. 

Your cellphone needs a thorough cleanup now and then just like your hands and here’s a comprehensive guide to disinfect it:

  • Use a slightly wet disinfectant wipe to clean your screen and back of the phone gently Contrary to previous belief, this process is applicable for Apple devices as well.  
  • Dab a lint-free cloth with 70% isopropyl alcohol or commercially available hand-sanitiser and wipe it clean. Don’t use Dettol or such disinfectant liquids.
  • Alternatively, moisten a paper towel or cloth with light-foaming handwash, very gently and carefully rub it over the phone screen and wipe it off with another clean, slightly damp cloth/towel.

  • Repeat this process at least once or twice a day, depending on the usage and exposure.
  • Never use bleach or submerge your phone in sanitiser or any other disinfecting agent.
  • Even if your phone is advertised to be water-resistant, it is best not to hold it under running water or dip it in a water vessel.

3. Keeping the home clean in these times of Covid-19

  • Door knobs, switches, tabletops, furniture etc. happen to be the most touched surfaces inside a home. Amid the Coronavirus outbreak, it is of utmost importance to clean and disinfect them regularly. 
  • Use a mixture of regular soap/detergent and water or use a standard disinfectant solution to wipe these surfaces clean. 
  • Vacuum regularly and make sure to mop the floors daily with floor disinfectant liquid. 

  • If you regularly use community elevators at your apartment complex, avoid touching the buttons with fingers to prevent contact transmission. An ingenious way is to make use of a toothpick for pressing the button and dispose of it immediately in the trash.

4. Keep virus away from your food

Covid-19 can survive up to three days on stainless steel and plastic surfaces. So, it is best to disinfect your kitchen utensils & cutlery with disinfectant dishwash every time before eating. 

Note: Make sure you are cooking your vegetables and proteins at a high temperature and consuming your food while hot.

5. In these times of Covid-19, opt for contactless delivery 

  • From takeaway food to packages, delivery executives are a regular now at our doorsteps. Most of the food delivery and e-commerce platforms are enabling the option of contactless delivery wherein the package is left at your door by the executive, which you pick up a while later, and make sure you opt for this facility now.

  • Another surefire way of transmission is the exchange of currency notes. It is recommended to entirely avoid cash exchange at the moment. Opt for digital payment options instead. 

Try your best to follow the rules mentioned above diligently, and keep yourself and your surroundings clean as much as possible. That is the very first step to protect yourself from the highly contagious virus. 

Also Read: COVID-19: Bengaluru Mom Offers Doorstep Delivery of Essentials to the Elderly

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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