Taking the right measures to reduce your risk of infection is extremely important. Washing hands, covering the mouth when sneezing and coughing and using antibacterial wipes or a sanitiser should be common practice for many. The COVID-19 virus has affected many aspects of life, with many people now relying heavily on the postal service to deliver goods and food. However, a person may be increasing their risk of infection and should adopt a certain strategy to ensure good hygiene is always practiced.
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Virologist Neetlje van Doremalen discussed how viruses stay in the air.
Van Doremalen said: “The virus will persist in the air for a couple of hours and up to two to three days on certain hard surfaces like cardboard and plastic.”
This becomes a worrying notion when it comes to the amount of plastic, paper and cardboard that is handled when receiving post or letters from around the world.
Dr Perpetua Emeagi, a lecturer in Human Biology and Biological Sciences at Liverpool Hope University reiterates this warning.
Dr Emeagi said handling letters and parcels is an “open invitation for the virus to spread.”
Dr Emeagi also stressed that people need to adopt an immediate “open it, read it, and bin it” strategy that must be implemented in order to stop the coronavirus infiltrating through the letter box.
Dr Emeagi added: “You simply do not know who or what your mail has come into contact with before it arrives at your home.
“And while it might seem innocuous, its very easy to underestimate how letters and parcels could act as a carrier of coronavirus. It’s an open invitation.”
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What is a more hygienic way to handle post and parcels
Dr Emeagi suggested her hygiene strategy to reduce risk of spreading infections.
Dr Emeagi said: “As soon as you pick up your post, open it, read it, file it, perhaps take a photo of the important information on your mobile phone and then safely dispose of it.
“Do not leave it lying around and take extra care not to allow it to come into contact with other surfaces. And make sure you bin the envelope as well as what’s inside it.
“You then need to immediately wash your hands for the recommended 20 seconds and follow all the usual precautions including cleaning your phone with ethanol-based wipes.”
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Earlier this week the Royal Mail reassured Britons regarding post and the spread of infections.
Royal Mail stated that it is safe to send gifts and cards home for Mother’s Day, despite the coronavirus outbreak.
However, it also came after a case of Covid-19 was confirmed at an Oxfordshire depot of Royal Mail, after an employee tested positive for the deadly virus.
The organisation said: “A colleague who works in one of our Oxfordshire sites ahs been diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus.”
Dr Emeagi strongly suggests adopting the ‘open in and bin it’ approach and then immediately wash your hands and use sanitiser to ensure your risk is low.
When it comes to handling foods in grocery stores, Dr Emeagi said: “We don’t yet know just how long coronavirus might linger on things like bread rolls, and it’s not an item you can readily wash like fruits and vegetables.
“My advice would be to remain suspicious about anything not in packaging and where you can, wash it thoroughly before consuming it.”
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