Coronavirus can survive on phone screens and bank notes for up to 28 days

The virus that causes COVID-19 can survive for up to 28 days on the glass on mobile phones, stainless steel and paper banknotes, Australian scientists have found.

A new study has found the new coronavirus can survive on glass surfaces, like phone screens, for 28 days.

A new study has found the new coronavirus can survive on glass surfaces, like phone screens, for 28 days. Source: AAP

The new coronavirus can remain on some surfaces, including banknotes and phone screens, for up to 28 days, according to a new Australian study.

Scientists from the national science agency CSRIO found the SARS-CoV-2 - the virus which causes COVID-19 - was more likely to survive in lower temperatures and on non-porous or smooth surfaces such as glass, stainless steel, and vinyl.

The study, published in the Virology Journal on Monday, also said the virus survived longer on paper banknotes than on plastic banknotes and lasted 10 days longer than influenza on some surfaces. This is significantly longer than previously thought

Larry Marshall, Chief Executive of CSIRO, said establishing how long the virus survived on surfaces enabled scientists to more accurately predict and prevent its spread, and so protect the community from infection.

The results reinforced the need for good practices such as regular hand-washing and cleaning surfaces, said Debbie Eagles, deputy director of the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP).

"At 20 degrees Celsius, which is about room temperature, we found that the virus was extremely robust, surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found on mobile phone screens," she said. 

Similar experiments for Influenza A found it survived on surfaces for 17 days.

Further experiments were carried out at 30 and 40 degrees Celsius, with survival times for the SARS-CoV-2 virus decreasing as the temperature increased.

"While the precise role of surface transmission, the degree of surface contact and the amount of virus required for infection is yet to be determined, establishing how long this virus remains viable on surfaces is critical for developing risk mitigation strategies in high contact areas," Dr Eagles said.

ACDP Director Trevor Drew said the research may help explain the apparent persistence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in cool environments such as meat processing facilities and how that might be better addressed.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction's restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at

Published 12 October 2020 at 7:28am, updated 12 October 2020 at 8:05am
Source: AAP - SBS