CORONAVIRUS can be transmitted on your shoes, experts are warning.
Researchers have found that the deadly virus can be "tracked all over the floor" by infected patients and medical staff.
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And doctors are now urging people to take their shoes off immediately when they get home and only wear one pair outside.
Chinese researchers made the revelation after tracking the viral "distribution" in hospital wards in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.
A team, led by Dr Zhen-Dong Guo, of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing, collected swab samples from potentially contaminated objects in the ICU and general ward from February 19 to March 2.
And their tests found that 70 per cent of swab samples from the hospital floor came up positive for coronavirus.
The study authors claimed this is "perhaps because of gravity and air flow causing most virus droplets to float to the ground."
They added that when people exhale, heavier droplets potentially containing virus tend to drop to the ground because of gravity, whereas lighter droplets can remain suspended in breathable air.
"As medical staff walk around the ward, the virus can be tracked all over the floor, as indicated by the 100 per cent rate of positivity from the floor in the hospital pharmacy, where there were no patients," the researchers said.
"Therefore, the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers."
Not surprisingly, the swabs the researchers took from frequently-touched surfaces, including doorknobs, bed rails, trash cans and computer mice, also came up positive for coronavirus.
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On top of this, the experts sampled indoor air and the air outlets to detect aerosol exposure.
"Virus-laden aerosols were mainly concentrated near and downstream from the patients," the team reported.
They found the closer to an infected patient, the more likely an air sample was to come up positive.
However, tiny airborne aerosols could travel farther than the two metres (six feet) the Government recommends sticking to when social distancing.
The researchers wrote on April 10 in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases: "the maximum transmission distance of coronavirus aerosol might be four meters (13 feet)."
The Chinese study did, however, reveal that personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by hospital staff appears to thwart viral infection. "
As of March 30, no staff members at Huoshenshan Hospital had been infected," despite widespread contamination of air and surfaces, the team noted.
After scientists revealed that coronavirus can be transmitted on your shoes, doctors urged people to take their shoes off immediately when they get home and to only wear one pair outside.
This is because droplets of the Covid-19 infection can live on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours, according to Britain's top doc Professor Chris Witty.
Dr Javid Abdelmoneim, an A&E doctor, said: "When you first come in from the outside, take off your shoes immediately.
"Most shoes have a non-porous rubbery sole, which the virus can survive on anywhere between three and five days.
"Keep shoes in your hallway, or the same spot and try to use only one pair of shoes to go outside.
"It’s believed coronavirus can last up to 24 hours on clothes.
"If you have had to use public transport, or come into close contact with people, think about changing your clothes immediately and putting them in the wash."
Health bosses say the best way to protect yourself from Covid-19 is to wash your hands with soap and water for the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.
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Happy Birthday takes about 20 seconds to sing twice and is said to be the perfect number to clean your hands to thoroughly.
You should also not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces which you may have touched is also important.
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