PARCELS should be left for 72 hours before opening them to lower the risk of catching coronavirus, Brits are being warned.
And among their top tips, they urge people to put deliveries in a spare cupboard for three days before using them, to allow any signs of the virus to die.
Writing on their website, which provides a plan for users to reduce their exposure of Covid-19 and viral load within the home, they say: “It can take up to three days (72 hours) for the coronavirus to completely die on hard surfaces – such as cardboard, plastic or metal.
“If you can wait three days, then the risk of catching the virus is at its lowest.
“If you are receiving a delivery, can you put things in a spare cupboard for three days before you use them?https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
“If three days isn’t possible, then aim for as long as you can – as soon as the virus leaves our bodies it starts to die so even after one day it is much weaker than it was before.”
It can take up to three days for the coronavirus to completely die on hard surfacesGerm Defence Researchers
They add that as it’s not possible to leave everything for three days, the other option is to clean hard surfaces with disinfectant.
The advice comes after Britain’s top doctor Professor Chris Whitty previously said droplets of the Covid-19 infection can remain on hard surfaces for 72 hours.
However, he said they would be “largely gone” within 48 hours in most cases.
The Chief Medical Officer explained in March: “It’s probably largely gone by 48 hours and almost completely gone by 72 hours on a hard surface.
“Soft surfaces viruses last for a shorter period.”
Other top tips the researchers include in the Germ Defence guide are wearing a mask for short amounts of time and then carefully removing and washing them as they can collect virus, and cleaning shared areas in your house.
The Germ Defence website has been adapted by top experts after previously being proven successful in reducing infection transmission for seasonal and swine flu.
A previous study of 20,000 people found users of Germ Defence were less likely to catch flu or other viruses, and otherwise suffered shorter illnesses.
The team behind Germ Defence are working closely with Public Health England, and the website is being translated into more than 20 languages.
Dr Ben Ainsworth, from the department of psychology at the University of Bath, told the Mail Online: “We know that Covid-19 is caught in the same way as other viruses.
Covid-19 is caught in the same way as other virusesDr Ben Ainsworth
“Germ Defence provides advice on how you can protect yourself using the same methods that have worked for other viruses.
“It only takes around ten minutes to go through the information – but it could help protect you from coronavirus, as well as offer you a lifetime of fewer colds and flu.
“It may take a bit of practice for you and your family to use the ideas on Germ Defence. But once you have learnt them, they will become habits that you’ll do easily which will protect you from becoming ill.”
Their study published in the BMJ last week argued that since most people with Covid-19 are cared for at home, it is important to limit the amount of virus they come into contact with by reducing viral load.
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Paul Little, professor of primary care research at the University of Southampton, said: “We developed and trialled Germ Defence so that it could be widely disseminated both during normal winter months and also during a major pandemic.
“We showed clear reductions in both transmission of infections to other family members and also in transmission from other family members.
“It should help reduce both the number of family members who become ill with Covid-19, and also reduce the severity of illness if family members do become ill.”
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