The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 19 February 2020

Spread of infection

Spread of infection

  • Listen

    The coronavirus causing COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is mainly transmitted person-to-person via respiratory droplets. This means that the virus reaches the inside of your eyes, nose or mouth from droplets that are dispersed in the air when someone sneezes or coughs. The droplets fall to the ground within approximately one meter (3 ft) from the source.

    There are reports of transmission of COVID-19 from people without any symptoms of illness. However, only a few studies describe the role of this type of transmission in relation to the overall spread of COVID-19 in the community. Based on the available knowledge about COVID-19 and similar diseases, the current understanding is that this route of transmission represents a minor part.

    To reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community, it is important to limit the transmission of the virus from people with symptoms of illness. This is one of the objectives of the Public Health Agency's ongoing efforts.

    Updated: 5/18/2020 1:41:15 PM

  • Listen

    It is not yet clear how long the virus can survive outside the body. Research on related coronaviruses shows that they can live for several days on surfaces and items, under particular conditions. Their survival depends on temperature, humidity, and sunlight. Coronaviruses are sensitive to dehydration.

    The amount of virus particles present also determines how long a surface or an item is contagious. Such studies are done under controlled conditions in laboratories, and are not directly transferable to other environments, for example in the community.

    A recent study from a healthcare setting where patients with COVID-19 had been isolated shows that small amounts of genetic material from the virus can remain in the environment. Further studies will clarify the role of indirect contact transmission for the spread of COVID-19.

    It is important to maintain good hand hygiene. By washing your hands with soap and water you can decrease the risk of getting infected and infecting others. If water and soap are not available, alcohol-based hand rub can be used instead.

    Updated: 5/18/2020 1:41:52 PM

  • Listen

    There is no data indicating that people have been infected from food or water. The coronavirus causing COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is mainly transmitted person-to-person via respiratory droplets. This means that the virus reaches the inside of your eyes, nose or mouth from droplets that are dispersed in the air when someone sneezes or coughs. It is also unlikely that COVID-19 is transmitted via water in swimming pools or other types of baths.

    Wash your hands often with soap and warm water; before cooking and eating and after using the toilet. Alcohol-based hand rub is an alternative when you do not have access to hand washing facilities.

    More information is available from the Swedish Food Agency (in Swedish).

    Updated: 5/14/2020 1:19:32 PM

  • Listen

    The virus causing the disease COVID-19 was most probably transmitted from animals to humans at a market with live animals in China. The possible animal source of COVID-19 has not yet been confirmed but research is ongoing.

    There is no evidence that the virus can spread from humans to pets.

    More information is available from the National Veterinary Institute, SVA (in Swedish).

    Updated: 5/14/2020 10:06:42 AM

  • Listen

    In a household where someone is ill with COVID-19 it is enough to clean as usual, using products available in supermarkets. Household waste, including paper tissues from infected persons, can be disposed of in your normal way.

    Updated: 3/20/2020 7:21:14 PM

  • What is your advice regarding face masks?
    Listen

    Face masks are not needed in everyday life. The best way to protect oneself and others is to keep at a distance from other people and to maintain good hand hygiene.

    Read more here about how to protect yourself and others from transmission.

    Updated: 5/14/2020 9:12:45 AM