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General News of Thursday, 30 July 2020


Be careful, coronavirus can be contracted through the eye – Virologist warns ‘trotro’ passengers

Virologist at the University of Cambridge, Dr Sebastian Arthur Virologist at the University of Cambridge, Dr Sebastian Arthur

A Ghanaian virologist who works at the University of Cambridge, Dr Sebastian Arthur has warned Ghanaians, especially ‘trotro passengers’ to also protect their eyes as coronavirus can be transmitted through them.

According to him, now that more restrictions have been eased especially with commercial buses loading to full capacity, passengers need to also protect thier eyes just like they do to other parts of the body.

This follows President Akufo-Addo’s directive to commercial drivers in his 14th Covid-19 update to the nation that they can load their buses to full capacity and also, the Ghana Health Service Director-General Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye’s comments that the country does not support the risk of transfer of COVID-19 in cars like other diseases.

Reacting to these, Mr Sebastian Arthur disagreed with Mr Aboagye adding that coronavirus indeed can spread very fast in buses.

He exclusively told GhanaWeb that wearing a nose mask and gloves and diligently wiping down bus seats are pointless if the eye is not protected using a face shield.

Mr Arthur explained that when for instance an infected bus conductor coughs, sneezes or talks, the virus can travel in tiny particles from their mouth or nose into a passenger's face.

These droplets he said, are most likely to be inhaled through one’s nose or mouth, but they can also enter the body through the eyes.

“Because these passengers have these face masks off, when the mate who maybe is positive and asymptomatic talks the virus can be transmitted through the eyes. The transmission routes are the eye, nose and mouth. The eye is a route for catching these droplets. People are trying to misuse the face shield, it is actually important this time around. Also people who might have touched their faces and other surfaces will touch the seat so these passengers need to be careful.” he stated.

He added, it’s not surprising, since the eye, nose and throat are connected by a nifty bit of plumbing, known as the nasolacrimal system that carries tears from the ocular surface to the nasal cavity and down the back of the throat.

“That is why when a person cries the nose runs; put medicine in your eyes and you'll often feel and taste it in the back of the throat,” he added.

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