Coronavirus could survive on inanimate surfaces for up to nine days at room temperature, researchers have found.
Cold, low-humidity environments are ideal for the disease, according to an analysis of 22 earlier studies by the Journal of Hospital Infection.
Past strains included Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The analysis also found that coronaviruses can be rendered inactive using common disinfectants – but it is not yet clear whether the new coronavirus behaves in a similar way.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said: "On copper and steel it's pretty typical, it's pretty much about two hours.
"But I will say on other surfaces – cardboard or plastic – it's longer, and so we are looking at this."
Disease experts say the new outbreak of the virus, named COVID-19, is mainly spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing.
Contact with fecal matter from an infected person may also transmit the virus, according to Mail Online .
Transmission can occur when a person touches a contaminated object or surface and then brings their hands to their mouth, nose or eyes, though one scientist suggested this type of transmission is rare.
Contamination from packages coming from overseas is even less likely, the New York Post reports.
A CDC spokeswoman, in an emailed statement, said the agency is still looking into how contagious the virus can be when deposited on more common, everyday surfaces.
Timothy Brewer, an epidemiologist in California, said: "The important big take-home message is that this is probably a small proportion of the transmission of respiratory viruses.
“Out in the community, these viruses are probably not surviving for a long time on surfaces.”
There have been more than 87,000 global cases of the novel coronavirus globally – with more than 2,900 deaths recorded, the vast majority of which in mainland China.
The virus has spread to 54 more countries apart from China, alarming public health authorities across the world.
The worst-hit countries – China, South Korea, Iran, Japan, Italy – are intensifying their efforts to contain the deadly bug.
More than 41,000 people affected in China have already recovered, according to The Guardian .
Today, 12 more cases of infections have been confirmed in the UK, taking the total to 35.
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