How it spreads

    How it spreads

    This is a new virus, and we’re learning more every day about how it spreads between people. We do know that similar viruses spread in droplets from coughs and sneezes. These droplets are called respiratory droplets. 

    To catch the coronavirus from droplets in the air, you’d need to be reasonably close to the infected person - within about 6 feet - when they cough or sneeze. 

    As people cough or sneeze, these droplets land on surfaces nearby. Other people then catch the virus by coming into contact with these and touching their eyes, nose or mouth. This is the most common way in which the virus spreads. That’s why it’s essential that everyone takes the advice to wash your hands seriously.

    We don’t know for certain how long this new virus can survive on surfaces, but it seems to behave similarly to other coronaviruses. Depending on the type of surface and the environment, coronaviruses can remain infectious on surfaces anywhere from a few hours to several days. It’s really important to clean surfaces where you think they may have become contaminated. 

    The incubation period for a virus is the time between catching it and beginning to see symptoms of the disease. The incubation period for COVID-19 is estimated to be around five days, although this does vary. It is possible you can catch this virus from people who are not displaying obvious symptoms. You should exercise good hygiene at all times.

    While it is true that there has been one instance of a dog being infected, there is no evidence that dogs, cats - or in fact any pet - are currently a significant source of spread for this coronavirus.