• 2020.05.19
  • Novel Coronavirus Survival Times
Dr. Juan Manuel Ruíz Liso, Spain’s leading proponent of the Mediterranean diet, about whom I have written previously, has published a table compiling the characteristics of the novel coronavirus in an easy to understand format for the general public based on material from the Journal of Hospital Infection, a medical journal published in the UK (https://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/).

He explains how long the novel coronavirus can stay alive on things. While much attention is paid to person-to-person direct transmission through aerosols and droplets, which is thought to have the highest rate of infection, there are also cases where the virus is re-transmitted while still alive after leaving a person and having become attached to an object, and these cases cannot be ignored. It’s a guide for taking precautions against contact infection when touching objects, not simply avoiding the 3 Cs (Closed spaces, Crowded places, Close-contact settings).

The virus survives for four to five days on bills (paper) and coins (metal) and for two to six days on plastic surfaces, for example. Unlike cash, it's easy to disinfect credit cards, so people are giving cash a wide berth when making payments. Some supermarket chains in Spain require everyone entering the store to wear disposable plastic gloves provided by the store. That means you don’t touch the goods, shopping baskets, cash, etc. with your bare hands, and once you’ve disposed of your gloves at the store exit, there’s disinfectant and tissue paper.

The next thing in the table is a list of precautions for urban life especially in Spain.

Precautions for elevator use and when returning home
1. As far as possible, do not use elevators. Using the stairs is good exercise.
2. If necessary, only use them to go up.
3. There may be viruses on the elevator buttons. Wear gloves or push the button with the tip of your house key.
4. If possible, change your shoes when entering your home. Wear different shoes for going out and for indoors (which is normal in Japan, right).
5. Minimum requirement: Wash your hands straight away when you get home.
6. Don't mix the clothes you have worn when going out with your indoor clothes. Air your coats, jumpers, and sweaters for several hours.
Wash the fruit and vegetables you buy well in cold water.

In Japan, where people have access to a lot of information, these may be well-known and go without saying, but in Spain, while you could say the epidemic has finally slowed, it is still spreading, and although you do occasionally hear about restrictions being relaxed, Dr. Ruíz Liso’s explanation has been effective in increasing the tension, which does tend to slacken.


  • Susumu Yamada
  • JobSpanish and Japanese Translation

It’s been almost 37 years since I received a residence permit and work permit from the Spanish government and paid my first tax and social insurance premiums. Now that I’m at that age where I will soon go and register at the senior human resources center, I’m grateful to have this opportunity to introduce you all to this country that has taken care of me these many years.

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