WATCH: Airborne infection of COVID-19 looking 'increasingly likely'

Rumours about COVID-19 being airborne have resurfaced. Research on this has not been conclusive, but some scientists believe the virus can be transmitted by air. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Professor Shabir Madhi says airborne infection of COVID-19 looks increasingly likely.

Madhi is director of the SA Medical Research Council's, Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Units.

“There's emerging evidence which is a cause for concern, that we might have underestimated the role of airborne transmission of COVID-19.

READ: Scientists say coronavirus is airborne, ask WHO to revise recommendations –NYT

"Previously the focus was around the whole notion that this might spread, which means you've come in contact with contaminated surfaces... and you inadvertently end up infecting yourself," Madhi said.

“Unfortunately more recently based on a number of experiences, including what we term as super spreader events, suggests that there is, in fact, a fair amount of airborne transmission that's taking place,” added Madhi.

Professor Madhi said there are two parts linked to airborne transmissions.

READ: COVID-19 deaths in SA rise to 3,502

“The part we referring to now is where there's microdroplets, which are extremely small, about five micrometers.

"They are actually suspended in the air for a reasonable period and people that walk in that vicinity, especially if that place is poorly ventilated, might inadvertently end up inhaling those contaminated microdroplets,” Madhi said.

“Safe to say, I think the airborne transmission is probably a reality and it explains the rapid rate at which this virus is being transmitted, including at our healthcare facilities,” he said.

- Coronavirus Hotline Number: 0800 029 999 from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

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