Website Blog Banner 17.02.20 7 - How will Spectrum be helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19

How will Spectrum be helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19

How will spectrum be helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus?

Spectrum will be helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a number of ways. The World Health Organisation has published a number of technical guidance documents on specific topics, including infection prevention and control (IPC). These documents are available at 

To keep you updated with the latest facts, we have summarised some key points for our industry from World Health Organisation Publications.


COVID-19 transmission

There are two main routes of transmission of the COVID-19 virus: respiratory and contact. Respiratory droplets are generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Any person who is in close contact with someone who has respiratory symptoms (for example, sneezing, coughing) is at risk of being exposed to potentially infective respiratory droplets (1). Droplets may also land on surfaces where the virus could remain viable; thus, the immediate environment of an infected individual can serve as a source of transmission (known as contact transmission).(5).


The provision of safe water, sanitation and hygienic conditions is essential to protecting human health during all infectious disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 outbreak. Ensuring good and consistently applied WASH and waste management practices in communities, homes, schools, marketplaces and health care facilities will further help to prevent human-to-human transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The World Health Organisation has shared the below as the most important information (1).


Frequent and proper hand hygiene is one of the most critical measures that can be used to prevent infection with the COVID-19 virus. WASH practitioners should work to enable more frequent and regular hand hygiene by improving facilities and using proven behaviour change techniques.


WHO guidance on the safe management of drinking-water and sanitation services applies to the COVID-19 outbreak. Extra measures are not needed. In particular, disinfection will facilitate more rapid die-off of the COVID-19 virus.


Many co-benefits will be realized by safely managing water and sanitation services and applying good hygiene practices. Such efforts will prevent many other infectious diseases, which cause millions of deaths each year.


Can Covid-19 spread through drinking-water or sewage?


Currently, there is no evidence about the survival of the COVID-19 virus in drinking-water or sewage. The morphology and chemical structure of the COVID-19 virus are similar to those of other surrogate human coronaviruses for which there are data about both survival in the environment and effective inactivation measures.

While persistence in drinking-water is possible, there is no current evidence from surrogate human coronaviruses that they are present in surface or groundwater sources or transmitted through contaminated drinking-water.

The COVID-19 virus is an enveloped virus, with a fragile outer membrane. Generally, enveloped viruses are less stable in the environment and are more susceptible to oxidants, such as chlorine. While there is no evidence to date about survival of the COVID-19 virus in water or sewage, the virus is likely to become inactivated significantly faster than non-enveloped human enteric viruses with known waterborne transmission.


The COVID-19 virus has so far not been detected in drinking-water supplies and based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low (3). however, as the virus is still so new, it is important that we take appropriate methods to slow down and prevent any chance of the virus spreading.


How do you effectively clean to prevent the spread of Covid-19?

Other human coronaviruses have been shown to be sensitive to chlorination and disinfection with ultraviolet (UV) light (6). As enveloped viruses are surrounded by a lipid host cell membrane, which is not robust, the COVID-19 virus is likely to be more sensitive to chlorine and other oxidant disinfection processes than many other viruses, such as coxsackieviruses, which have a protein coat.


For effective centralized disinfection, there should be a residual concentration of free chlorine of ≥0.5 mg/L after at least 30 minutes of contact time at pH < 8.0 (4). A chlorine residual should be maintained throughout the distribution system.


Heat, high or low pH, sunlight and common disinfectants (such as chlorine) all facilitate die off.


Can Covid-19 survive on surfaces?


Yes, however, it is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems likely to behave like other coronaviruses. A recent review of the survival of human coronaviruses on surfaces found large variability, ranging from 2 hours to 9 days (2).


The survival time can depend on a number of factors (1);

  • Type of Surface.
  • Relative humidity.
  • Specific Strain of Virus.


The same review also found that effective inactivation could be achieved within 1 minute using common disinfectants, such as 70% ethanol or sodium hypochlorite.


What can businesses do to help prevent the spread of Covid-19?


We are providing disinfecting and cleaning services to help prevent the spread of this virus. We wanted to ensure that our clients and customers felt informed with enough fact to be able to make decisions to support the prevention of this virus rather than sharing fear-based headlines.


  1. Frequent and proper hand hygiene is one of the most critical measures that can be used to prevent infection with the COVID-19 virus
  2. COVID-19 is an enveloped virus and therefore is surrounded by a lipid host cell membrane, which is not robust. This means that exposure to chlorine and oxidant disinfection processes will be effective. Washing down public areas with the correct chemicals will help to prevent the spreading of COVID-19.
  3. The lipid host cell membrane of COVID-19 is also sensitive to extreme temperatures. High-temperature steam and boiling water is also a very effective way of reducing the risk of contact transmission.
  4. Download the World Health Organisation documentation on getting your workplace ready for Covid-19.



What cleaning and disinfecting services are Spectrum offering prevent the spread of COVID-19?


Spectrum will be offering exterior cleaning and sanitation services to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have been inundated with queries, but if you do need support, please do not hesitate to contact us on or 020 3551 6206. We have additional measures in place to support the increased demand.

We believe it is important that you do take responsibility for your public areas. Cleaning and disinfecting will be one of the major ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The health and well-being of our staff and partners is 100% at the forefront of our actions, and in addition to this, we will be following and communicating the current government advice.




  1. WHO/2019-NcOV/IPC_WASH/2020.1
  2. Kampf G, Todt D, Pfaender S, Steinmann E. Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents. J Hosp Infect. 2020;104(3):246−51. doi:10.1016/j.jhin.2020.01.022.
  3. Chen N, Zhou M, Dong X, Qu J, Gong F, Han Y, et al. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study. Lancet. 2020;395:507–13. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30211-7.
  4. Guidelines for drinking-water quality, fourth edition, incorporating the first addendum. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2017 ( eng.pdf, accessed 3 March 2020).
  5. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020 (, accessed 3 March 2020).
  6. SARS-CoV-2 − water and sanitation. Adelaide: Water Research Australia; 2020 ( df, accessed 3 March 2020).



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