Airborne Transmission Of Novel Coronavirus Can Occur In Healthcare Settings: World Health Organisation

Airborne Transmission Of Novel Coronavirus Can Occur In Healthcare Settings: World Health Organisation

According to the World Health Organisation’s new guidelines, airborne transmission of Coronavirus can occur in healthcare settings where specific medical procedures generate very small droplets – aerosols
Coronavirus Outbreak, News
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Airborne Transmission Of Novel Coronavirus Can Occur In Healthcare Settings: World Health Organisation239 scientists from 32 countries have claimed airborne transmission of coronavirus beyond aerosol generating procedures
  • COVID-19 spreads between people through direct, indirect, close contact
  • WHO acknowledged aerosol transmission in healthcare settings
  • More research is required on transmission through aerosols: WHO

New Delhi: On Thursday (July 9), the World Health Organisation (WHO) shared an update to the scientific brief of March 29 entitled “Modes of transmission of virus causing COVID-19: Implications for infection prevention and control (IPC) precaution recommendations”. According to the new guidelines, airborne transmission of Coronavirus can occur in healthcare settings where specific medical procedures generate very small droplets – aerosols. However, more research is required on transmission routes and airborne transmission in the absence of aerosol generating procedures.

Also Read: Precautions To Take Till Airborne Transmission Of COVID-19 Is Further Researched And WHO Assesses The ‘Emerging Evidence’

The new guidelines come days after 239 scientists from 32 countries wrote an open letter to WHO claiming airborne transmission of coronavirus beyond aerosol generating procedures. In an open-access article ‘It is time to address airborne transmission of COVID-19’ published in Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, it’s stated, “Viruses are released during exhalation, talking, and coughing in micro-droplets small enough to remain aloft in air and pose a risk of exposure at distances beyond 1 to 2 m from an infected individual.”

Transmission Of Novel Coronavirus

In the scientific brief, WHO has talked about possible modes of transmission for SARS-CoV-2, including contact, droplet, airborne, fomite, fecal-oral, and others.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is A Coronavirus And COVID-19?

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur through direct, indirect (through contaminated objects or surfaces), or close contact with infected people through infected secretions such as saliva and respiratory secretions or their respiratory droplets, which are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or sings, says the WHO.

Apart from contact and droplet transmission, WHO acknowledged airborne transmission and reported outbreaks of COVID-19 in some closed settings, such as restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship or places of work where people maybe shouting, talking, or singing.

In these events, short-range aerosol transmission, particularly in specific indoor locations, such as crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a prolonged period of time with infected persons cannot be ruled out, said WHO.

The health organisation also noted that transmission of the virus could have happened due to close contact, lack of hand hygiene and physical distancing and no use of face mask. Having said that, WHO called for more studies to investigate such instances and assess their significance for transmission of COVID-19.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Are The Different Stages Of COVID-19 Transmission

It has also called for research on the dose of virus required for transmission to occur; the settings and risk factors for super spreading events; and the extent of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission.

Agreeing with WHO’s current stand based on the information available as of now, Dr Giridhara R Babu, Professor and Head, Lifecourse Epidemiology, Indian Institute of Public Health, PHFI, Bengaluru said,

As of now the evidence suggests that if a distance is more than 1 meter then likelihood of virus spreading is less even if it’s airborne. A high propensity of virus transmission exists in a closed setting and close contact between two people where they are not using masks.

However, the scientists have claimed that the virus in the air pose risk at distances beyond 1 to 2 meter as well. This problem is especially acute in indoor or enclosed environments, particularly those that are crowded and have inadequate ventilation relative to the number of occupants and extended exposure periods. Commenting on scientists’ claim, Dr Giridhara R Babu said,

I would want to see the evidence. As of now, it’s a theoretical possibility. The real evidence suggests that in closed contacts and closed spaces like let’s say there is an AC hall where many people work. In that hall, there is one infected person and no one is wearing a mask then there is a really high risk of virus spreading within 1 meter of that person. Therefore, the propensity to spread is greater in a closed space. So it’s not just about airborne transmission but also about what kind of setting we are in.

However, Dr Harsh Mahajan, Founder Of Mahajan Imaging and Chairman of CARINGdx, believes WHO has been very cautious and careful in its guidelines for the general public and healthcare workers throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is of the opinion that WHO should have overstated the problem and said,

Even now it (WHO) has come up with a guarded statement about the airborne transmission of this highly contagious disease. It may have been better in such circumstances for WHO and other authorities to err on the side of overstating the dangers of airborne transmission so that people end up taking more precautions and being more careful, so as to lower the chances of the rapid spread of this disease.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is A Cytokine Storm And How Is It Fuelling COVID-19? Experts Answer

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene


Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,59,54,660 and 41,87,297 have died; 6,30,45,359 are active cases and 12,87,22,004 have recovered as on July 29, 2021 at 4:00 am.


3,15,28,114 43,509Cases
4,03,840 4,404Active
3,07,01,612 38,465Recovered
4,22,662 640Deaths
In India, there are 3,15,28,114 confirmed cases including 4,22,662 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,03,840 and 3,07,01,612 have recovered as on July 29, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

62,82,914 6,857

85,913 466

60,64,856 6,105

1,32,145 286


33,27,301 22,056

1,50,040 4,164

31,60,804 17,761

16,457 131


28,99,195 1,531

22,592 82

28,40,147 1,430

36,456 19

Tamil Nadu

25,53,805 1,756

21,521 667

24,98,289 2,394

33,995 29

Andhra Pradesh

19,59,942 2,010

20,999 34

19,25,631 1,956

13,312 20

Uttar Pradesh

17,08,313 87

768 30

16,84,790 116

22,755 1

West Bengal

15,25,773 815

11,370 10

14,96,294 811

18,109 14


14,36,093 67

573 3

14,10,471 61

25,049 3


10,01,651 164

2,226 164

9,85,905 327

13,520 1


9,72,517 1,703

15,765 65

9,51,049 1,699

5,703 69


9,53,605 30

268 10

9,44,384 40



8,24,802 28

274 11

8,14,452 39


Madhya Pradesh

7,91,778 11

130 8

7,81,135 18

10,513 1


7,69,828 32

702 1

7,59,499 28

9,627 3


7,24,673 76

480 4

7,14,554 80



6,43,093 657

9,314 77

6,29,986 578

3,793 2


5,98,947 65

559 24

5,82,102 84

16,286 5


5,62,731 1,276

14,499 536

5,43,031 1,791

5,201 21


3,47,049 27

237 10

3,41,686 36

5,126 1


3,41,934 60

672 13

3,33,901 47


Jammu And Kashmir

3,21,026 160

1,139 15

3,15,511 144

4,376 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,05,499 116

953 30

2,01,026 84

3,520 2


1,70,810 81

1,082 48

1,66,586 127

3,142 2


1,20,627 97

923 0

1,17,912 96

1,792 1


95,824 1,003

10,922 120

83,392 871

1,510 12


77,788 376

3,861 107

73,177 267

750 2


63,014 541

5,456 124

56,510 409

1,048 8


61,943 5

36 1

61,098 6


Arunachal Pradesh

47,142 342

4,301 14

42,617 325

224 3


36,407 1,110

11,610 686

24,657 424



27,586 114

1,350 34

25,684 78

552 2


25,856 240

3,117 42

22,406 198



20,320 6

64 6

20,049 12


Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,642 3

41 3

10,597 6



10,155 6

76 6

10,029 11

50 1

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,531 1

7 5

7,395 6


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