Ventilate your home to stop Covid spread, UK government says

By Denis Campbell

People are being urged to open their windows for 10 minutes every hour when they are socialising at home in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19 as winter approaches.

Doctors and scientists are backing a government-funded campaign across all media platforms to encourage people to ventilate their home to help disperse virus particles.

It will include a short film asking people to “stop Covid-19 hanging around” and showing how the coronavirus can build up in an enclosed space where an infected person is talking to someone else, linger in the air and then get passed on to someone else.

Dr Thomas Waite, a deputy chief medical officer for England, said: “Small but important actions can help protect us against Covid-19. Getting vaccinations, wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and taking regular Covid-19 tests all make an important difference but it is also crucial that we don’t overlook the value of ventilation.

“With winter fast approaching and people spending more time indoors, it’s vital everyone understands the importance of using ventilation, such as regularly opening windows – even if just for a few minutes – to keep the air moving and prevent infections.”

The Department of Health and Social Care is asking people to take ventilation more seriously after a representative survey of 3,000 people in England found that 64% do not know that opening windows helps limit Covid’s spread and only 29% do so when visitors come to their home.

It said: “With fewer restrictions in place this winter, following the success of the vaccination programme, the act of refreshing air in the home when people have visitors is even more important for everyone to keep infections down.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the leader of the British Medical Association, welcomed the campaign and belated communication with the public about the benefits of ventilation.

But he added: “We believe action should go further than a campaign, by setting explicit standards for ventilation in public spaces, including the appropriate use of CO2 monitors to assess adequate levels of ventilation.

“There should also be resources and guidance to businesses so they can implement changes.”

Experts involved in the push on ventilation hope to prompt a much greater use of open windows, especially with much greater social mixing indoors set to occur before and during the festive period.