TAMING CORONAVIRUS

COVID-19: Why you should be careful when using mobile phone

Most people touch their phones after touching a public doorknob but only think to clean their hands.

In Summary

• Experts say the virus enters the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth. The World Health Organisation recommends frequent and thorough handwashing as the best protection against infection. 

• Much as one may keep hands clean most part of the day, the virus might still find its way to the body.

A mobile phone user on the street of Nairobi in 2010 /Philip Kamakya
A mobile phone user on the street of Nairobi in 2010 /Philip Kamakya

The coronavirus pandemic has got many people frantic about their hygiene, especially about their hands and face.

Experts say the virus enters the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth. The World Health Organisation recommends frequent and thorough handwashing as the best protection against infection. 

Much as people may try to keep their hands clean, the virus might still find its way to the body.

Experts say the coronavirus may be able to survive on some surfaces for up to 12 hours, and that may include phones, tablets, and computers.

Phones are devices that most people use often and are constantly pressed against the side of their faces while making calls.

Most people touch their phones after touching doorknobs and other surfaces, but only think to clean their hands but forget their devices.

Other surfaces that could harbour germs include light switches, counter tops, handles, desks,  keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

WHO has reiterated that the coronavirus can survive in a person's hands up to 10 minutes in which one could rub his eyes or touch lips leading to infection.

The organisation has, therefore, urged the public to sanitise and disinfect frequently all touched surfaces daily, especially mobile phones.

Straight alcohol can strip the oleophobic and hydrophobic coatings that keep oil and water from damaging your display and other ports. 

Most importantly, the alcohol will kill the virus.

According to an article by wirecutter- a New York Times Company - one can prep a phone for disinfection using a dry, soft cloth to remove debris and fingerprints.

Avoid using paper fiber materials like toilet paper or a paper towel as they’re more abrasive and can leave scratches.

 The safest way is to use disinfectant wipes that contain 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol to clean your phone screen. 

“Alcohol-based hand sanitisers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitisers do not eliminate all types of germs,” the article on the health firm’s website read.

For the phone cases depending on the material, one can disinfect accordingly.

Surfaces should be cleaned using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

About 182,764 people have been diagnosed globally since its emergence in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, last December.

The COVID-19 has so far affected 162 countries and territories around the world.

Atleast 7,174 fatalities have been reported internationally as infections continue soaring up outside China.

Due to its alarming levels of spread and severity globally, fear and anxiety have triggered panic buying in the majority of affected countries.

Most people are stocking up on detergents, toilet paper, and groceries due to the uncertain time ahead.

In Kenya, after the country recorded the first case of coronavirus, the shopping rush saw some commodities like sanitisers and masks cleared from shelves even after prices tripled.

Many people have trusted the sanitisers to keep them safe from the virus.

Many have started to observe all mitigations advised by WHO and the Government in keeping the virus at bay.

Public transport providers are expected to provide hand sanitisers to commuters as one a measure to contain the spread.


A mobile phone user on the street of Nairobi in 2010 /Philip Kamakya
A mobile phone user on the street of Nairobi in 2010 /Philip Kamakya