Keeping a two-metre distance from others may not be enough to stop the spread of coronavirus, a new report suggests.

Health officials around the world have been urging members of the public to remain two metres apart from other people in order to prevent catching or spreading Covid-19.

But a new report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that that might not be a far enough distance to give protection from catching the highly contagious airborne disease.

According to the report, a sneeze or cough from an infected person in a moist, warm atmosphere can expel microscopic virus droplets as far as eight metres and those droplets can be suspended in the air for several hours.

MIT researchers said they wanted to warn the public about the ‘distance, timescale and persistence over which this cloud and its pathological payload can travel’.

Virus particles have already been discovered in the ventilation systems of hospital rooms with patients with coronavirus.

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The researchers said their findings were significant because public and healthcare workers may not realise they need to wear protective equipment even when not in the immediate vicinity of an infected patient.

Chinese research claims to have found evidence that the virus can survive well in the conditions of a swimming pool.

Eight people fell ill after an infected man visited a bathhouse in Huai’an, which is about 700km from Wuhan, the city believe to be at the centre of the outbreak.

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