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Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the U.S. Congress on Thursday that his agency is aggressively evaluating how long coronavirus can survive and be infectious on surfaces.

“On copper and steel its pretty typical, it’s pretty much about 2 hours,” Redfield said at a House of Representatives hearing on the government response to the fast-spreading virus. “But I will say on other surfaces — cardboard or plastic — it’s longer, and so we are looking at this.”

He said infections contracted from surfaces rather than through the air could have contributed to the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

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