Scientists in Australia have discovered that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can survive on solid common surfaces for as long as 28 days.

In a study published Monday in Virology Journal, researchers at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization), Australia’s national science agency, found the SARS-COV-2 virus was “extremely robust,” surviving on smooth surfaces at 20 degrees Celsius, compared to the flu virus, which lasts for 17 days in the same circumstances. The scientists at CSIRO also found the SARS-COV-2 virus stopped being infectious after about 24 hours at 40 degrees Celsius.

The scientists at CSIRO found the novel coronavirus can survive on such common surfaces as paper banknotes, glass and stainless steel.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to unveil a new coronavirus alert system for the country during a speech in Parliament Monday. Instead of a blanket nationwide lockdown, the government’s new system designates areas as medium, high and very high risk. Under the first tier, areas with relatively low infection rates will have limited restrictions on restaurants and bars, with the restrictions gradually tightening up to the third tier, when restaurants and bars will be forced to close.

The new system is being implemented as Britain reaches what a spokesman for Prime Minister Johnson described as “a critical juncture.” The nation is experiencing a dramatic surge of new COVID-19 cases, especially in the northern cities of Liverpool, Merseyside, Manchester and Newcastle. Britain has 42,825 COVID-19 deaths, one of the highest numbers in Europe, including 65 on Sunday.

More than 37.4 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, including 1,075,942 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracking project. India officially topped 7 million total COVID-19 infections on Sunday, second only to the United States, which has 7.7 million confirmed cases. India’s health ministry also reported 918 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the country’s total fatality rate to 108,334.

Health authorities in the eastern Chinese coastal city of Qingdao will test all nine million of its citizens after reporting nine new coronavirus cases on Sunday, all of them linked to a hospital that treats infected travelers from overseas. The new cases include four confirmed infections and five asymptomatic cases, making them the first recorded locally transmitted asymptomatic infections in China since September 24, according to Bloomberg news service.

Source: Voice of America