Concerns over the potential for the Coronavirus Covid-19 to spread through air conditioning systems, making them unsafe to use is raising unnecessary fears says Will Overton of Vectis Refrigeration. A view supported by Refcom, the UK’s F-gas certification body.
He said: “Reports of the coronavirus being spread by air conditioning systems is ‘misinformation’, not based on scientific evidence and largely taken out of context.
According to Will one example of this is a widely reported incident from Singapore suggesting that “traces of the virus” were found in “an air duct connected to the room of a patient” who had tested positive for the virus. There was speculation that the natural conclusion was the virus was being transferred via the air flowing through the duct. A view that did not take into account the likelihood that someone had simply touched the outlet grille and left a trace amount of the virus there.
“The scaremongering this creates is not helping those trying to get to grips with the reality of what is a serious situation” added Will.
Refcom also put out a statement insisting that any airborne contaminants can be minimised, if not eliminated in air conditioning systems, by proper and effective filtration and regular cleaning and maintenance. This should be conducted at all times as part of standard maintenance routines.
The advice from Vectis Refrigeration is that whilst a clean ventilation system is an essential part of a healthy building at any time, businesses and organisations with air conditioning systems should at least review current procedures and state of cleaning with their maintenance provider or call Vectis Refrigeration for advice.
Where any cases of coronavirus Covid-19 have been confirmed, it is recommended that ventilation systems are cleaned and sterilised to industry best practice levels as a preventative measure during this time.
Whilst the situation is changing rapidly, these recommendations are based on the best advice currently available. As always government and NHS websites should be consulted for any rapidly developing changes to the situation.