Review of Coronavirus transmission in urban clusters: Survival in Water and Wastewater Systems

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Suzaini Zaid
Muhamad Afiq Aziz
Raha Sulaiman
Khanom Simarani
Yohanes Totok Suyoto
Eric Lou
Masoud Esfandiari


The ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has infected over 58 million people and claimed over 1.58 millions deaths globally (as of 11th December 2020) since its first outbreak in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Initially, the numbers of infected patients and death was largely contained in China with 98% of all confirmed infected cases. However, the increased rate of new infected cases outside of China like United States, Italy, and Spain raises questions on the virus characteristics and its routes of transmission. Although the main transmission modes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are through direct contact and respiratory droplet/aerosol inhalation, current studies stipulate that SARS-CoV-2 RNA is found in sewerage, suggesting the potential transmission of SARS-COV-2 through wastewater systems. This paper seeks to review potential exposure routes of SARS-COV-2 in urban environments, the survival rate of coronaviruses that pose human health risks,  and to provide relevant safety recommendations to reduce the impact of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There is an urgent need for wastewater effluent and water treatment supply epidemiology surveillance, especially in developing countries with subpar wastewater treatment systems and infrastructure to reduce human and ecological risks to protect populations from infectious diseases outbreak.


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