Can use of ACs spread coronavirus? - GulfToday

Can use of ACs spread coronavirus?


The electron microscope shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19.

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Rumours spread on the Internet suggest that use of air conditioners during this summer may not be safe as it can help spread the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Based on inputs from doctors, the official handle of Press Information Bureau (PIB) tweeted that running windows AC in a room where there is no coronavirus patient poses no risk to people.

"Claim: ACs should not be used to cool off in the heat, as they spread #Covid_19.

"Fact: It's a little complicated. Window ACs are ok, but not central air-conditioning," said the tweet.

In the video clip accompanying the tweet, doctors are heard saying that in healthcare establishments where there could be coronavirus positive patients, central ACs may pose some risk.

A guidance document by the Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) also suggested that people should use air conditioners with caution during the pandemic, especially in healthcare establishments.


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"The most important factor in this scenario is to ensure that the virus-laden airborne particles do not leak out of the rooms occupied by COVID-19 patients and also to maintain the concentration of virus-laden particles inside the patient room at a minimum," said the document titled, COVID-19 Guidance Document for Air Conditioning and Ventilation.

This is required to control the spread of infections and also to protect the healthcare workers, it added.

The document suggested how air conditioners should be used in different settings such as homes, commercial establishments, and in healthcare facilities.

The recirculation of cool air by room air conditioners must be accompanied by outdoor air intake through slightly open windows and exhaust by natural exfiltration.

"Set room temperature between 24 degrees Celsius and 30 degrees C. Maintain relative humidity between 40 per cent and 70 per cent," ISHRAE said, adding that in humid climates, one should set temperature closer to 24 degrees for de-humidification and in dry climates closer to or at 30 degrees and use fans to increase air movement.

"In dry climates, do not allow relative humidity to fall below 40 per cent. Water evaporating from a pan kept in the room will increase humidity if it falls below 40 per cent," it added.

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