Two studies in Japan and China have concluded that coronavirus infection is highly unlikely in open areas. The risk of infection is 19 times higher indoors than outdoors, according to La Vanguardia, because many particles are needed to start the infection, and outdoors they are dispersed by the wind.
The National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan has analyzed the development of eleven outbreaks of coronavirus detected in the country. Among these, some caught it in a gym, others in a boat restaurant and others at a festival held inside tents.
In China, Tsinghua University in Beijing, Southeast University in Nanjing and the University of Hong Kong have analysed 318 outbreaks, considering that an outbreak involves three or more people. Interestingly, none of these cases had occurred outdoors but had mainly taken place in private homes and public transport, as well as in shops and restaurants, although to a lesser extent.
According to the head of Infectious Diseases at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Álex Soriano, the virus is transmitted through saliva drops that are expelled when talking, coughing or even breathing. "In closed spaces where there is close and prolonged contact between people it is easier for the infection to be transmitted than in open spaces where the virus is dispersed in the air", he stated.
The head of Infectious Diseases at Hospital Vall d'Hebron also in Barcelona, Benito Almirante, also made a statement on the subject in 'RAC1': "The possibility of being infected through the air must be less than 1%. It is almost impossible for a person who breathes street air to have the possibility of transmitting the disease".
For this reason, the risk of contagion at the beach or in a swimming pool is extremely low, because even though these spaces are full of people, close contact with strangers is not usually established. If a person has the virus, it will be dispersed by the wind.
Experts say that the risk of infection will be higher in the autumn, when there are crowds of people in classrooms, meeting rooms and other enclosed spaces. They, therefore, stress the importance of maintaining a safe distance and avoiding unnecessary close contacts in these spaces.