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The emergence of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) from China resulted in thousands of confirmed cases and deaths across the globe [1] Swift and drastic measures to delay the COVID-19 pandemic is essential to enable health-care systems to prepare and deal with cases (WHO). The coronavirus is transmitted from person-to-person [2], from contaminated hands and even surfaces [3,4]. A comprehensive understanding of the viability of the coronavirus on non-living surfaces [5,6] is lacking. Kampf et al. [7] reviewed the persistence of all coronaviruses on different surfaces and the effectiveness of disinfectants against them.

All viruses can be transmitted in the same ways, covid is just extremely contagious although not highly virulent. Human coronaviruses can remain transmittable on non-living surfaces, e.g plastic (including plastic gloves), glass, metal and other hard surfaces for a period of up to 9 days at room temperature while persistence is shorter at temperatures of 30˚C or higher [7,8]. Viral transmission can thus potentially occur through frequently touched surfaces and need to be disinfected properly. The World Health Organization accentuate that “both washing one’s hands and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily are key in preventing Covid-19’s spread”, 70% ethanol is recommended for disinfecting small surfaces [9]

Since SARS-CoV-2 can have serious complications, it is crucial to cooperate with measures to prevent an ongoing outbreak. The wearing of gloves is not necessarily effective and may even spread the virus faster since the gloves are only effective when thrown away after each procedure and replaced with new ones. We would advise beekeepers, who are permitted to do pollination, to take extra care when using beekeeping gloves and to sterilize both gloves and vehicles.

Dr H. Human (PhD) and Dr A. Carstens (MBChB)


[1] WHO. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). WHO; 2020. Situation Report 23.
[3] Chan JF, Yuan S, Kok KH, To KK, Chu H, Yang J, et al. 2020. A familial cluster of pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus indicating person-to-person transmission: a study of a family cluster. Lancet.
[4] Otter JA, Donskey C, Yezli S, Douthwaite S, Goldenberg SD, Weber DJ. 2016. Transmission of SARS and MERS coronaviruses and influenza virus in healthcare settings: the possible role of dry surface contamination. J Hosp Infect 92:235e50.
[5] Dowell SF, Simmerman JM, Erdman DD, Wu JS, Chaovavanich A, Javadi M, et al. 2004. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus on hospital surfaces. Clin Infect Dis 39:652e7.
[6] Geller C, Varbanov M, Duval RE. 2012. Human coronaviruses: insights into environmental resistance and its influence on the development of new antiseptic strategies. Viruses 4:3044e68.
[7] Kampf G, Todt D, Pfaender S, Steinmann, E. 2020. Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents. J Hosp Infect 104:46e251 [6] [8] van Doremalen N, Bushmaker T, Morris DH, Holbrook MG, Gamble A. et al., 2020. Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. N Engl J Med. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973.
[9] WHO. Annex G. Use of disinfectants: alcohol and bleach. Infection prevention and control of epidemic-and pandemic-prone acute respiratory infections in health care. Geneva: WHO; 2014. p. 65e6.