Air conditioner may have spread Covid-19 in 3 families at China restaurant, says study

The study recommended increasing the distance between tables in restaurant and improving ventilation to prevent the spread of the virus in restaurants.
People wear face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus as they ride an escalator in Beijing, on Wednesday.(AP Photo)
People wear face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus as they ride an escalator in Beijing, on Wednesday.(AP Photo)
Updated on Apr 15, 2020 03:42 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

A study in China has suggested that air conditioning aided the transmission of coronavirus infection between people in a restaurant.

The study has been published in an early-release article in peer-reviewed Emerging Infectious Diseases journal published by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States.

The study was conducted on 10 Covid-19 patients from three families who dined at the same restaurant in China’s Guangzhou. The first infected person - who had come from Wuhan - had lunch at the five-floor restaurant without windows on January 24, said the study, and members of other two families sat at neighbouring tables.

While the first patient experienced fever and cough the same day, the members of other families became infected by February 5.

All three families spent about an hour of overlapping time at the restaurant.

The study concluded that the most likely cause of this outbreak was droplet transmission. Since droplets remain in the air only for short time and travel short distance, said the study, the strong airflow from the air conditioner could have propagated the droplets.

It also recommended increasing the distance between tables and improving ventilation to prevent the spread of the virus in restaurants.

The deadly coronavirus disease Covid-19 swept through the globe after breaking out in China’s Wuhan in December last year. Though daily infections have fallen dramatically from the height of the epidemic in February, when hundreds of new cases were reported daily, Beijing remains unable to completely halt new infections despite imposing some of the most drastic measures to curb the virus’ spread.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022