Coronavirus dies within five minutes at 70°C?

Fact checking

Emir Drešević
Visual for Corornavirus fact checking
UNICEF Crna Gora
20 April 2020

At the end of March, online portals wrote about the impact of high temperatures on coronavirus and how the upcoming summer could mitigate its impact and spread. writes that at a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius coronavirus can live for almost two weeks, while at a temperature of 70°C, it dies within five minutes.

This information was also published by the following portals:,,,,, Informer,,, BN TV, and many others.

The media outlets that published this text have completely downloaded material from the Russian agency Tass, which took this information from the MedRvix site.

This finding was reported by a group of Chinese scientists from Hong Kong who published their research on the MedRvix website. They published a preliminary survey on 30 March of this year.

MedRxiv is a service for publication of preliminary scientific reports in medicine, before being reviewed by experts in the respective field. The "About Us" section of the site states that the research posted there should not be published in the media as a reliable source of information, nor as a reference for medical personnel in their further work.

The media had already reported on their research and presented it as a scientific discovery.

UNICEF young reporters wrote about this in the text "Chinese scientists have found out which blood type is most susceptible to coronavirus". >>>

If we read the study published on this Chinese website, we see that it is never stated that coronavirus dies within five minutes at a temperature of 70°C, but that they do suggest that an increase in temperature could cause a decrease in the effectiveness of coronavirus, as was the case with SARS.

Let's think about this – if it is true that COVID-19 does not work effectively at high temperatures, then how come in warm countries such as Australia, Saudi Arabia, Libya ... where temperatures of 40°C and above can be easily reached, thousands of people are infected and dozens who have died?

Besides this, under the category “Mythbusters”, the World Health Organization website says:

“Exposure to the sun or temperatures above 25°C does NOT prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19). You can catch COVID-19 regardless of sunny or hot weather. High-temperature countries have reported COVID-19 cases. To protect yourself, be sure to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly and to avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.”

In addition, we asked the Institute of Public Health of Montenegro (IJZ CG) whether this information is correct.

"As for the evidence of survival – evidence is only available from “in vitro” studies - that is, from experiments that analysed the survival of the virus under ideal conditions. In ideal conditions the virus can survive for several days, but its numbers decline dramatically in the environment after that time. We cannot suggest precise timeframes, but two weeks is certainly not even close to what has been proven in the lab,” the Institute of Public Health of Montenegro responded.

Given the above information and the exposure of relevant institutions and organizations, the information that coronavirus can live for almost two weeks at a temperature of 4°C, while it dies within five minutes at a temperature of 70°C, is incorrect. 


In an effort to contribute to preventing the dissemination of coronavirus misinformation and to promoting credible sources of information, UNICEF's young reporters have decided to check the accuracy of information published on social media and in the media that has attracted public attention. In verifying the accuracy of information, they have followed the example of the Public Disclosure Platform and partly used its publicly available methodology.