Thousands of people across the UK buy a newspaper or have one delivered every single day. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic causing havoc across the globe, health experts have issued warnings urging members of the public to avoid unnecessarily touching objects which may have come into contact with a large number of people. However, the World Health Organisation has confirmed newspapers will not carry the virus.
In a statement the international body said: “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.”
Reinforcing the statement medical practitioner Doctor Hilary Jones said: “For public health information right now it’s important people have access to information through newspapers.”
He stressed: “It’s possible to deliver newspapers safely.
“If someone physically picks them up and delivers them to a doorstep or letterbox it’s safe.”
Publishers have also long protected customers and staff through health and safety measures at printing plants, distribution centres, and home delivery.
Virologist George Lomonossoff, of the John Innes independent research centre in Norwich, is an expert in molecular biology and the properties of viruses and underlined the safety of newspapers further.
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.”
These are typically expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The heavier of these will fall to the ground, but smaller, lighter particles can travel further and linger in the air, and are more likely to infect other people.
Mr Lednicky said: “You can inhale those, but they can also come into contact with your eyes.”
Even if you keep your distance, there’s a chance of coming into contact with a virus as you walk through a cloud of expelled particles.
Published at Sun, 29 Mar 2020 12:32:00 +0000