Corona Virus & Airconditioning Systems

Does the corona virus (Covid-19) spread through airconditioning?

There have been questions asked around the spread of corona virus through airconditioning systems in light of the current COVID-19 virus.

Various studies and simulations have been undertaken and the following are some of the findings.

Does COVID-19 spread through the air or air-conditioning?

So far there is no evidence that this virus is spread through the air or through air-conditioning systems. The patterns of spread are consistent with transmission through droplets from an infected person to someone who is in close unprotected contact. Nevertheless, in the hospital setting, patients are currently managed in special ‘negative pressure’ rooms if available, and healthcare workers will take ‘airborne precautions’ when performing certain procedures.

The World Health Organization stated in their 26 March Situation Report “The virus can spread directly from person to person when a COVID-19 case coughs or exhales producing droplets that reach the nose, mouth or eyes of another person. Alternatively, as the droplets are too heavy to be airborne, they land on objects and surfaces surrounding the person. Other people become infected with COVID-19 by touching these contaminated objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. According to the currently available evidence, transmission through smaller droplet nuclei (airborne transmission) that propagate through air at distances longer than 1 meter is limited to aerosol generating procedures during clinical care of COVID-19 patients.”

“Aerosol generating procedures” are procedures and treatments that can generate very small droplets – such as ventilation, suctioning of airways, nebulising medication, and “induced” sputum.

Does cleaning of aircon ducts offer any benefit to spread of COVID-19?

REHVA, the European Federation of HVAC associations, has advised that humidification, air conditioning and duct cleaning has no practical effect on the transmission of the coronavirus.

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