Impact of building ventilation systems and habitual indoor incense burning on SARS-CoV-2 virus transmissions in Middle Eastern countries

Patrick Amoatey, Hamid Omidvarborna, Mahad Said Baawain*, Abdullah Al-Mamun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Majority of countries across the globe have employed improving building ventilation, quarantine, social distancing, and disinfections as a general measure of preventing SARS-CoV-2 virus transmissions. However, arid Middle Eastern countries with hot climate (elevated outdoor temperature and humidity levels) are experiencing a different situation. Unfortunately, these harsh ambient climatic conditions in Middle Eastern countries make it impossible for most buildings to utilize natural/mechanical ventilation systems. Besides, indoor air temperatures of most buildings are very low due to overconsumption of air conditioning, thereby, it can be a potential factor of virus spread in most residential homes and public buildings. Most importantly, habitual indoor burning of incense which is the major source of coarse (PM10; aerodynamic diameter <10 μm) and fine (PM2.5; aerodynamic diameter <2.5 μm) particulate matters (PM) could facilitate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus droplets and particles in indoor environments. In fact, it increases the spread of the virus via inhalation in these countries, especially where the wearing of masks is not regulated in public, commercial and residential buildings. It is therefore highly recommended for the relevant public health agencies to critically assess the role of poor indoor environmental conditions including the burning of incense on virus transmissions, which may help to develop control measures for the future viral outbreak effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139356
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Burning incense
  • COVID-19 disease
  • Hot climate
  • Indoor environments
  • Middle Eastern countries
  • SARS-CoV-2 virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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