Although there is conclusive evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may be airborne, the Department of Health (DOH) said that measures are still in place to keep Filipinos protected.
An article on the website of the medical journal The Lancet appeared on April 15, citing 10 pieces of evidence proving that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted through airborne transmission.
Evidence includes recorded long-range transmission of the virus to people in different rooms in quarantine hotels, detection of the virus in air filters and building ducts of hospitals with COVID-19 patients, and detection of the virus in the air.
Based on laboratory experiments, the virus can remain contagious in the air for up to 3 hours.
But it is also important to understand that the air sample came from the room of a patient with COVID-19 and the car of a sick person.
According to Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire, protocols are still adequate to prevent COVID-19 infection.
DOH believes measures vs COVID-19 adequate
He advised those working at the hospital to use an N95 mask. It is also said that a surgical or cloth mask is enough for people outside the houses.
“May studies na lumabas na ‘pag enclosed mas nagli-linger sa air ang virus by about 1.5 to 3 hours. So sabi, adequate ventilation, less talking, singing, limit interaction if you are in an enclosed space,” said Vergeire.
“Whatever we are doing right now is sufficient and appropriate to protect the public,” she added.
“We continue to emphasize that it is largely aerosol-generated transmission and we need to continue to follow what we are advising,” said Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the World Health Organization representative in the Philippines.
Aside from the country continuing to experience the onslaught of COVID-19 cases, the threat of allegedly more contagious variants of the virus also remains.
According to the DOH, they detected 266 new samples with variants from the United Kingdom and 351 with South African variants.
In 25 samples, the P.3 variant was first detected in the Philippines and is considered a variant under investigation.