The mystery coronavirus that has killed 170 people in China can spread simply by touching contaminated surfaces, health officials warned.
The World Health Organization revealed that there’s new evidence that the illness is spreading more easily than previously understood, the Sun reported.
“There is evidence that the coronavirus can also be spread via fomites — when the virus survives on inanimate surfaces for a short period of time,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, who is on the WHO’s emergency committee on the outbreak, according to the report.
Officials previously were working under the assumption that the virus was transmitted through either human contact or when an infected person sneezes or coughs near someone else’s face.
There’s no indication, however, that the virus is airborne and can spread through a room, such as with the flu or SARS, CNN reported.
The latest revelation comes as China on Thursday reported more than 7,700 cases of the virus, which broke out last month in the central city of Wuhan.
Though there’s no known cure, health officials said viruses can generally be prevented by washing one’s hands, as well as avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
With Post wires
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