Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned supermarket shoppers that Covid-19 can also be contracted by handling goods someone else with the virus has previously touched.
Speaking during a Downing Street press conference this afternoon, the PM said social distancing at a supermarket isn’t enough as transmission occurs through the handling of products too.
“Please remember that this disease can be passed on not just by standing too near to someone in a supermarket queue, but also by handling something touched by an infected person,” he said.
“Remember also that one in three people with Covid-19 have no symptoms and that’s why the original message of hands, face, space is as important now as it has ever been.”
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The Prime Minister spoke as a further 1,280 people with coronavirus have died in UK hospitals, taking the total to 87,291.
While there were 55,761 new cases reported on Friday, up from 48,682 the previous day.
No.10’s warning comes after different supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s, banned those who refuse to wear a face mask in their stores, except for those who are exempt.
Government guidance on shopping in a supermarket advises people to “try to only touch what you are going to buy” when handling loose items.
And while the guidance said there is a “very low” chance of catching the virus through food or food packaging, it says “it is especially important to wash hands before handling food or eating”.
No.10 today announced almost 3.3 million people have already at least the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine across the UK as part of the biggest immunisation programme in the country’s history.
But Mr Johnson warned against complacency as he said: “It will be fatal if this sense of progress were now to breed any kind of complacency because the pressures on the NHS are extraordinary.
“On Tuesday we saw 4,134 new admissions to hospital on a single day – the highest at any point in this pandemic.
“There are now more than 37,000 Covid patients in hospitals across the UK and in spite of all the efforts of our doctors and nurses and our medical staff we are now seeing cancer treatments sadly postponed, ambulances queuing, and intensive care units spilling over into adjacent wards.
“This is not the time for the slightest relaxation of our national resolve and our individual efforts. So please stay at home, please protect the NHS and save lives.”
Despite today alarming figures, Covid-19 rates have fallen across all age groups apart from the over-80s in a sign lockdown measures are starting to have an effect.
The Public Health England data show case rates among the over 80s, who account for the most coronavirus related hospital admissions, are continuing to rise, and are now above 300 per 100,000.
But every other age group saw rates fall.