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Coronavirus cannot be caught from newspapers or packages, WHO confirm

Health experts and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have confirmed that newspapers cannot transmit Covid-19.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain Dr Hilary Jones said: “For public health information right now it’s important people have access to information through newspapers.”

Dr Jones stressed that they were an essential service and that “it’s possible to deliver newspapers safely.

“If someone physically picks them up and delivers them to a doorstep or letterbox it’s safe.”

And a statement from WHO backed that up.

It says: “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”

For live updates throughout the day on the coronavirus pandemic visit our liveblog.

Newspapers are safe with the risk of transmission ‘low’

Virologist George Lomonossoff, of the John Innes independent research centre in Norwich, uses molecular biology to understand the properties of viruses.

He said: “Newspapers are pretty sterile because of the way they are printed and the process they’ve been through to be produced.

“Traditionally, people have eaten fish and chips out of them for that very reason.

For those concerned they have coronavirus in the UK, Public Health England has issued advice about how to self-isolate.

1. Stay at home: Don’t leave your house except when you need to seek medical care. Ask for help buying groceries or have them delivered.

2. Stay away from your housemates: Stick in a well-ventilated room away from others, with the door closed. Use a separate bathroom and wear a facemask when it shared areas.

3. Call ahead before visiting the doctors so they can take extra precautionary measures.

4. Cover you coughs and sneezes: Make sure to cover your nose and mouth and to throw away disposable tissues in a plastic waste bag.

5. Wash your hands regularly: This should be done often and thoroughly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, rinse and dry thoroughly.

6. Avoid sharing household items: You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with other people in your home when you have used them. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water.

7. Do not have visitors in your home.

8. Keep away from your pets if possible.

9. Keep your clothes clean: Do laundry on the highest temperature possible and clean all surfaces around the washing machine.

10. Monitor your symptoms: Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening, for example, if you have difficulty breathing, or if the person you are caring for symptoms are worsening.

“So all of the ink and the print makes them actually quite sterile. The chances of that are infinitesimal.”

The reassurance also extends to Royal Mail and Amazon packages.

In countries with high levels of coronavirus, newspapers remain a part of daily life. Even in the worst-hit areas of the world, including Italy and China, newspapers have continued to publish in order to maintain this public service.

Fish and chips were traditionally wrapped in newspaper (stock photo)

Food delivery services such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats now offer customers the chance to select a ‘contactless’ delivery with food instead left outside the front door to limit any human interaction which could spread the deadly bug.

The UK death toll from coronavirus yesterday reached 1,019 and that number is expected to significantly increase in the days to come.

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Coronavirus outbreak

Although those with underlying health conditions are considered most at risk from the pneumonia-like virus 13 of the 260 who died between Friday and Saturday were perfectly healthy.

A further update on the number of deaths in the UK is expected later today.




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