How does coronavirus spread? Doctor says chatting indoors is behind Wales’ recent spike in cases

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Talking indoors to people who are not part of your household was the main way coronavirus was spread before Wales’ fire-break lockdown was introduced, a Public Health Wales (PHW) expert says.

Dr Chris Williams, who studies people’s behaviour in the weeks leading up to their contraction of the virus in PHW’s data analysing surveillance team, explained that every time you stop to talk to someone outside your household “you’ve had a potential transmission event.”

He told BBC Wales that chatting in pubs, restaurants and homes was “mostly” how the virus spread in the weeks leading up to Wales’ fire-break lockdown.

Dr Williams said: “It’s not to do particularly with the nature of the pub or bar, it’s just the fact that you’re talking to someone across a table who’s in a different household. Talking, unfortunately, is a great transmission, as is singing and shouting. Those are the kind of things that we see, that manifest themselves in the rising numbers.”

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He also explained that while hand washing was a very important part of getting rid of the virus, more evidence was supporting the fact that the virus is a “respiratory droplet infection”.

He said: “So the closer you are talking to someone, the better it transmits. Speaking to people is something we find very hard not to do. I think that’s part of the problem because we don’t see that as a bad activity.”

It comes after First Minister Mark Drakeford revealed in a Q&A with WalesOnline that household gatherings are the “first and most difficult” aspect of post-fire-break restrictions that the Welsh Government is considering.

In an extensive interview, he said household gatherings and travel are the two issues which are “trickiest to resolve”.



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