Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a new warning to shoppers advising them to only touch the goods they are going to buy.
He warned that the coronavirus could be spread through handled goods.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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