New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Days after scientists claimed that coronavirus is airborne, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday issued new guidelines of for the airborne transmission of COVID-19, saying that the airborne spread of the highly contagious infection can occur in “health care settings where specific medical procedures generate very small droplets – aerosols”.

The WHO, however, emphasised that that more evidence in terms of research is “urgently needed to investigate such instances and assess their significance for transmission of COVID-19”.

In its new guidelines, the UN agency said that the coronavirus that causes “COVID-19 spreads through contact with contaminated surfaces or close contact with infected people who spread the virus through saliva, respiratory secretions or droplets released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings”.

Asking people to practice social distancing, the WHO said that people should avoid crowds and ensure good ventilation in buildings and use masks as much as possible.

The WHO also asserted that coronavirus may be spread by people who do not have symptoms. However, it noted that it is still unclear to what extent this occurs and more research is needed in this area.

This comes just days after over 200 scientists claimed that coronavirus is airborne and asked the WHO to revise its recommendations and guidelines. In their letter to the WHO, the scientists and researchers outlined the evidence showing smaller particles in the air can infect people.

"This is a move in the right direction, albeit a small one. It is becoming clear that the pandemic is driven by super-spreading events, and that the best explanation for many of those events is aerosol transmission," said Jose Jimenez, a chemist at the University of Colorado who signed the letter, which was published on Monday in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, as reported by Reuters.

What does the WHO had said earlier?

The WHO had earlier said that the evidence presented before it to support the claim that the virus is airborne was no convincing. "Especially in the last couple of months, we have been stating several times that we consider airborne transmission as possible but certainly not supported by solid or even clear evidence," Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO's technical lead of infection prevention and control, was quoted as saying by the NYT.

(With agency inputs) 

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma