Can I get Covid from touching goods in a supermarket?

BORIS Johnson has issued a new warning to shoppers advising them to only touch the goods they are going to buy.

The Prime Minister warned that the coronavirus could be spread through handled goods.

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Can I get Covid from touching goods in a supermarket?

Johnson said: "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.

"And remember one in three have no symptoms. Washing your hands now is as important as it has ever been."

According to guidelines, it is “especially important to wash hands before handling food or eating”.

But the guidelines say you’re unlikely to catch coronavirus from food or packaging.

What are the latest Covid supermarket rules?

The government advice says: “When you are buying loose foods such as fruit, vegetables, or bread in a bakery, try and only touch what you are going to buy.”

Face masks are also compulsory unless you're medically exempt, with Tesco, Aldi, Morrisons and Sainsbury's confirming people will be barred entry for breaking this rule.

Asda has previously introduced “no touch” rules where customers are asked not to pick up items they’re not buying.

In a message on its website, Asda tells shoppers to "TOUCH LESS" and to "pick up only what you intend to buy".

Aldi, meanwhile, asked customers to only touch trolleys that they intend to use in an update last year.

Iceland had told customers they must buy any items they touch.

Other shoppers online have raised concerns about what happens if they need to check labels for allergy information and use by dates before purchasing.

Tesco doesn’t have specific touch rules in place but the supermarket encourages hand washing after handling food and before you eat.

Supermarket lockdown rules for Asda, Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and M&S.

Can Covid live on objects?

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed plastic is the surface the virus remains viable on for the longest – up to 72 hours.

On stainless steel the virus was detected up to 48 hours after application.

For cardboard it was 24 hours and for copper just four hours.

There is currently no evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted from fabrics.

Experts though advise it would be a good idea to wash your clothes if somebody has coughed on them, or if they have brushed up against someone outside of the household with whom you are isolating.

The NHS says: “It’s very unlikely [coronavirus] can be spread through things like packages or food.”

It advises you throw away any packaging and wash your hands thoroughly after handling your groceries.

How can I stay safe when visiting a supermarket?

Shoppers are already asked to stand at least one metre apart to help stop the spread of coronavirus, while stores are also limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time.

Wear a face mask.

All supermarkets have introduced coronavirus safety rules to keep customers safe, including increased cleaning of baskets and trolleys.

Other measures include plastic shields around checkouts, plus special opening hours or designated shopping times and discounts for NHS workers and the vulnerable and elderly.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Sage data has always highlighted that retail is a safe environment.

“Supermarkets continue to follow all safety guidance and customers should be reassured that supermarkets are Covid-secure and safe to visit during lockdown and beyond.

“The FSA is clear that the risk of Covid-19 transmission through food or packaging is negligible.

“Nonetheless, customers should take established safety precautions – wear a face covering, do not touch your face, and wash your hands regularly.”

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