Study Reveals How Long COVID-19 Lives on Cargo

March 23, 2020

A common question in regard to received goods is whether a person is at risk of contracting COVID-19 from handling international cargo.

We do not believe that there is any measurable risk of infection from cargo that has travelled internationally. This is due to the time spent in transit.

A collaborative study between the National Institute of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UCLA and Princeton University has determined the length of time COVID-19 can survive on various materials.

The study found that COVID-19 can remain viable and infectious for up to 3 hours on aerosols, 4 hours on copper, and 24 hours on cardboard.

In contrast, the virus decayed slowest on stainless steel and plastic, remaining detectable for up to 72 hours. Society commonly uses these materials in a variety of packaging, labelling and household items.

This data is an improvement on prior predictions, where scientists estimated a nine day survival period on some surfaces.

Researchers also added that the concentration of COVID-19 declines over time. The virus half-life is considerably lower, at approximately 13 hours on steel and 16 hours on plastic.

Notably, this study has not undergone peer review. Data has been disclosed with the caveat it may change as additional research emerges and data is evaluated.

Overall, this data underscores the importance of vigilantly following World Health Organisation COVID-19 advice. Clients should disinfect surfaces and frequently wash their hands, especially after contacting suspect steel and plastic.

Want to keep reading? Find out how the Australian government is supporting the domestic air freight industry.