New Covid-19 variants, including Delta, is airborne and can infect a person within 15 seconds

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The new strains of Covid-19 are highly contagious and can spread through the air in as short as 15 seconds, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.

He said the surge in infections since June 26 is largely spread by the Delta variant and called on the public to take greater precaution.

“If we look at the infectiousness for a normal virus, the R0 or Rt is between 2.5 and 3.0, but the R0 or Rt for the Delta variant or variants that we have identified is much higher, that is between 5.0 and 8.0.

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“Meaning, if 100 people are infected, within a short period of incubation, it can infect between 500 and 800 people,” he said in a news conference broadcast on Facebook.

He added that the virus has been evolving rapidly as well.

He said experts previously estimated that the virus could be transmitted to the closest person who is less than one metre away within 15 minutes.

“We are informed that with these new variants now, infection can happen within 15 seconds only, and also because it’s airborne,” Dr Noor Hisham said. – MMO