A viral video showing just how easily coronavirus could spread around a buffet restaurant has captured the world’s attention.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK conducted and filmed the test in collaboration with public health experts – and the end result is eye-opening.
At the beginning of the video, you see fluorescent paint applied to a man’s hands, which acts as the “virus” for the purpose of the experiment. The idea is that if he’d coughed or sneezed into his hands, the virus would remain on them.
Ten participants, including the “infected man”, then served themselves at a makeshift buffet and ate for 30 minutes. Afterwards, a black light revealed how far and wide the paint – or virus – had travelled.
The paint spread to a wide range of dishes, as well as the hands of all the other participants, NHK said. Three participants also had paint on their faces.
NHK said the paint was spread to others via the lid of the container holding the food, the tongs used to pick up the food, and the handle of the drinks container.
Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in Cellular Microbiology at the University of Reading, tells HuffPost UK the video is an effective way to get the message across of how the virus might spread.
“Things like that are actually quite a good idea,” he says. “I think people know these things, but they don’t stop to think about them.
“So they’re useful in that they confirm to people, or remind people, of just how easy it is to spread germs. I do think a lot of people forget that they don’t wander around in a sterile bubble every day.”
Here’s a five-step guide to washing your hands properly during the outbreak.
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Experts are still learning about the novel coronavirus. The information in this story is what was known or available as of press time, but it’s possible guidance around COVID-19 could change as scientists discover more about the virus. Please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the most updated recommendations.