Dr Hilary Jones outlines best way to avoid catching coronavirus from delivered parcels
Taking questions from concerned Britons on TalkRADIO on Wednesday, Dr Jones claimed some delivery drivers and postmen could be either asymptomatically carrying coronavirus or refrain from staying at home despite showing symptoms. He therefore advised on the best way to open parcels that might be contaminated with the deadly virus. He said: “What we know is that anything that is delivered to you, if the person who delivered it wasn’t wearing gloves or had symptoms, coughing, sneezing – obviously they shouldn’t be out there anyway but let’s suppose they are asymptomatic but carrying the virus – they cough, they sneeze or they contaminate their hands with their breath and they touch the package, in theory, the virus could live on that packaging for a few hours. Perhaps even 24 hours. Now, you’ve got some options.
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“You certainly don’t talk to the delivery person, they are currently being advised to leave the packaging on the doorstep with the door closed.
“Later on, when they’ve gone, you open the door, you bring things in.
“You can either wear gloves, to touch the packaging and take the content out. You can then throw the packaging away.
“Or you could leave the packaging in its cardboard box for say 48 hours.
“That would eliminate any trace of the virus, the virus would just decay naturally.”
He added: “Equally, if you don’t have gloves you can take the packaging away, take out the content, throw the packaging away and then wash your hand thoroughly with soap and hot water and you then sterilise your hands before you put your hands to your face.
“And that’s all you need to do to minimise what is already a very small risk.”
It comes as NHS England has announced 665 new deaths of people who tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 16,272.
NHS England releases updated figures each day showing the dates of every coronavirus-related death in hospitals in England, often including previously uncounted deaths that took place several days or even weeks ago.
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This is because of the time it takes for deaths to be confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19, for post-mortem examinations to be processed, and for data from the tests to be validated.
The figures published today by NHS England show April 8 currently has the highest total for the most hospital deaths occurring on a single day: 828.
Scientists do not yet know if there is long-lasting immunity from the coronavirus, an infectious disease specialist has said.
Asked whether it was possible that people in Britain could be immune for a few weeks or a month before being able to get or spread the virus again, Professor David Heymann said “that is the question that everyone is trying to answer right now”.
Prof Heymann, who led the global shutdown of Sars in the early 2000s, told a press briefing for the Chatham House think tank: “The answer is that it is not known. It is not known how long antibody protection lasts. It is not known if all of the people can be detected under current testing.
“This is a new virus, so that question cannot be answered.”
It is an issue which has been raised as nations consider ways to try and reintroduce people safely back into society.
Some nations have suggested a type of health passport for people who may have antibodies, and questions remain about possible reinfection.
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Prof Heymann said scientists were waiting to see what could be determined about protective immunity from this virus.
He suggested that antibody tests were currently not specific nor sensitive enough to give more information about how the virus was spread in the community.
On suggestions there may be more people who are asymptomatic than previously thought, he pointed out that the only evidence-based on the experience of a real-life population came from studies in Singapore.
Stating that for as long as the virus was around, people must keep following social distancing rules, he said: “The figures are that 6 percent of people who are asymptomatic who go on to develop symptoms could be infectious a day or so before showing signs of symptoms.
“We know nothing in the community yet about those people who are infected and never develop symptoms.”
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