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Prevention measures, cleaning surfaces, disinfectants

When should I wash my hands?

You should wash your hands:

  • before starting work;
  • before handling hot or cooked food;
  • after handling or cooking hot food;
  • after handling waste;
  • after cleaning up;
  • after using the toilet;
  • after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing;
  • after eating, drinking or smoking;
  • after handling cash.

To prevent the spread of disease it has been recommended to also air office spaces. How to clean the air when the office has general ventilation and the windows cannot be opened?

If it is not possible to air the rooms, surfaces should be regularly cleaned with disinfectant. The corona virus does not spread through the ventilation system but mainly by a close contact with a person suspected to be infected who has symptoms characteristic to the disease, mainly a cough.

The precondition to the spread of the virus is close contact with the bodily fluids (blood, excrements, urine, spit, sperm) of an infected person. When a person infected with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or speaks, droplets containing the virus end up in the air. These virus droplets are quite heavy and therefore do not travel very far in the air. According to what we have learned thus far they can travel 2 meters at the maximum. Because of their heaviness it is also not probable that air flow would make the droplets travel further from surfaces.

The life span of virus droplets on surfaces depends on the air temperature and average humidity of the surrounding environment. At room temperature, or 22-25 degrees and 40% relative humidity, the virus survives up to 4 or 5 days. The higher the temperature and relative humidity, the faster the virus is destroyed.

An effective way to destroy the corona virus from surfaces is using different biocides or antimicrobial solutions. One of the most common ones is ethanol. A solution containing 70% ethanol is adequate for cleaning surfaces of COVID-19 contamination.

Should apartment associations disinfect surfaces in common use, like handrails of the hall staircases and elevator buttons?

The Health Board recommends disinfecting the door handles, handrails, elevator buttons etc. of apartment buildings at least once a day. Viruses are destroyed by a disinfectant that contains at least 70% ethanol.

Hallways have to be cleaned with water and water-absorbent cloth because cleaning dust with a dry brush will not get rid of the virus. When cleaning it is important to use disposable gloves and easy-to-clean working clothes and footwear in order to protect yourself from chemical cleaning agents and contamination on surfaces.

If possible, the apartment associations could provide hand-sanitisers near entrances and lifts. You should, however, definitely remember to wash your hands thoroughly after coming home. You can find more recommendations from the guidelines of the Health Board (in Estonian).

Is it possible to reduce the potential risk associated with COVID-19 virus due to food eaten at home?

Yes. It is very important to wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after entering the store, as it protects both you and others. You also need to wash your hands before you start making food and also after the food is made.

Store your foods properly (avoid any contact between foods consumed raw and food requiring heat treatment), discard the outer packaging before storage (for example, a paper packaging, if there is also a plastic inner packaging), while taking note of important information such as the best before date. Fruit and vegetables must be washed regularly with clean water, especially if they are not heat-treated (COVID-19 does not survive heat treatment).

Food contamination should be avoided through kitchen utensils (knives, plates, etc.), wash your dishes carefully before coming into contact with different food items.

The instructions for heat treatment (time, temperature) should be followed for foods that are to be eaten after heat treatment.

The refrigerator and kitchen area should be cleaned thoroughly and more often than usual.

 

What should animal keepers know regarding the coronavirus?

An employee of a meat processing company, a veterinary carrying out checks of animals and food in the market, a market employee and an employee working with live animals on a farm and processing animal products should, in addition to frequent hand washing, turn additional attention to the following:

  • Work clothing and gloves should be used when handling animals and fresh meat.
  • The equipment used and the work station should be regularly disinfected (at least once a day).
  • Protective clothing should be removed and washed at the end of work. It is recommended that the work clothes/protective clothes and other work equipment be kept at the place of work and washed on site.

More information on the web page of the Agriculture and and Food Board. (January 1, 2021, the Veterinary and Food Board was merged with Agriculture Board as Agriculture and Food Board).

 

Last updated: 24 March 2021