Experts know the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on some surfaces for days but a new study has found it can remain infectious for 28 days under the right conditions.
That's far longer than the flu virus, which can last for up to 17 days.
The study was released Monday (October 12) by Australia's national science agency and researchers found the virus persisting on phone screens, paper money and stainless steel.
They say it shows how critical cleaning and handwashing are in fighting the pandemic.
Shane Riddell is the study's lead researcher.
"We still don't know what an infectious dose is. So even though we were able to recover infectious virus up to 28 days, that may not be enough to actually cause an infection but I think the key message really is to wash hands where possible and sanitise your hands with an alcohol-based disinfectant often."
One caveat, the experiment was done entirely in the dark, without UV light. Direct sunlight has been shown to degrade the virus.
It also survived longest at about room temperature, rather than sweltering heat.
And the study found that proteins and fats in body fluids help the virus last longer.
Researchers said given that proteins and fats in body fluids can also sharply increase virus survival times, their study may help explain the persistence and spread of COVID-19 in meat processing plants around the world.