New Study: Coronavirus stays on masks for a week, 3 hours on tissues and 7 days on banknotes

  • The virus is highly stable at cold temperatures

  • Stays on masks for a week

  • It stays on clothes for 2 days

  • 4 days on a smooth banknote

New research by University of Hong Kong has thrown new light at the survival capacity of novel coronavirus in various environments. The new virus causing COVID-19 is highly stable at cold temperatures and it can live on a tissue paper for 3 hours before it dies.

On the outer layer of facemask, it lasts for seven days, reveal the findings. In the case of treated wood and cloth, the virus dies only after 2 days, while on smooth surfaces after 4 days, in case of steel, it is 7 days, said the research.

The pathogen's lifespan depends on the type of surface and temperature as the research found out the stability of novel coronavirus in various temperatures and on surfaces including when disinfectants were used. "Sars-CoV-2 can be highly stable in a favorable environment, but it is also susceptible to standard disinfection methods," said the researchers.


According to a study published in The Lancet - Microbe on Thursday by researchers from the HKU, the novel coronavirus can survive longer on masks prompting us to appropriately throw them away, as it could also be a potential source of infection.

At various Temperatures

"The virus is highly stable at 4°C, but sensitive to heat," said the paper. At 4°C the coronavirus had its remnants even after 14 days. The virus took 5 mins to die when the temperature was as hot as 70°C, tea/coffee is usually served between 70-85 degree Celcius. On the other hand, at 37°C, the human body temperature, the virus took a day to die and in room temperature (22°C), the virus lives for a week!

On Surfaces

Novel coronavirus is more stable on smooth surfaces, reiterated the researchers. On printing papers and tissues, the coronavirus was no longer infectious after 3 hours. In the case of treated wood and cloth the virus lost its infection ability in 2 days.

On smooth surfaces like Banknotes and glass the virus, it survived for 4 days, while on stainless steel and plastic, it survived for a week. "Strikingly, a detected level of infectious virus could still be present on the outer layer of a surgical mask on day 7," wrote the researchers.

Coronavirus on surfaces Lancet Microbe 2020

The virus could stay no longer than 5 minutes on using hand soap at room temperature. The virus could not stay for even 5 minutes in case of household bleach, 70 percent ethanol, among other disinfectants.

Related topics : Coronavirus