Masks, Distance, Ventilation: Govt Says Aerosols Can Travel 10 Metres, Lists ‘Simple Tools’ To Fight The Virus

Wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing, ensuring sanitation and adequate ventilation can help prevent the spread of deadly coronavirus.

All this and more has been spelt out by government’s Principal Scientific Adviser K VijayRaghavan’s office which has issued a set of “easy to follow” guidelines to combat the pandemic.

“As the pandemic rages in India, we need to once again remember that simple tools and practices can reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus,” the advisory says.


The advisory highlights the important role well-ventilated spaces play in diluting the viral load of infected air in poorly ventilated houses, offices etc. Ventilation can decrease the risk of transmission from one infected person to the other.

“Just as smells can be diluted from the air through opening windows and doors and using exhaust systems, ventilating spaces with improved directional air flow decreases the accumulated viral land in the air, reducing the risk of transmission,” the press release states.

The Principal Scientific Adviser’s office says that ventilation is a community defense that protects all of us at home or at work.

“Introducing outdoor air in offices, homes and larger public spaces is advised. Measures to improve ventilation in these spaces must be taken up on urgent priority in urban and rural areas alike, recommendations for hutments, homes, offices and large centralised buildings are given. Simple strategic placement of fans, open windows and doors, even slightly open windows can introduce outdoor air and improve the air quality inside. Introduction of cross ventilation and exhaust fans will be beneficial in curtailing the spread of the disease,” the release says.

In buildings with central air-management systems improving central air filtration /increased filtration efficiency is especially helpful when enhanced outdoor air delivery options are limited. In offices, auditoriums, shopping malls etc. use of gable fan systems and roof ventilators are recommended. Frequent cleaning and replacement of filters is highly recommended.

Efficacy of Masks To Check Droplet & Aerosol Transmission

Saliva and nasal discharged in the form of droplets and aerosols, by an infected person while exhaling, talking, speaking, singing, laughing, coughing or sneezing etc. is the primary mode of virus transmissions. infected person who shows no symptoms also transmit the virus. People without symptoms can spread the virus.

“Ideally surgical mask should be used only once, but when pairing, you can use it up to 5 times by leaving it in a dry place for 7 days after one use (ideally give it some sun exposure),” it said.

While droplets fall within 2 meters from an infected person, smaller aerosol particles are carried in the air up to 10 metres, it said.

Surface Transmission

Droplets emitted by an infected person land on various surfaces (where they can survive for a long time), the advisory said. Frequent cleaning of high contact points such as door handles, light switches, tables, chairs and the floor with disinfectants like bleach and phenyl therefore are recommended as per the advisory.

“The SARS-CoV-2 virus infects a human host where it can multiply, in the absence of the host it cannot survive, and stopping the transmission of the virus from a person to another person will decrease the infection rate of the disease to a level where it can eventually die.

This can be achieved only with the support and cooperation of individuals, communities, local bodies and authorities. Use of masks, ventilation, distancing, and sanitation, the battle against the virus can be won,” the media release states.

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