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World Health Organisation and industry experts confirm newspapers remain safe to handle

Posted on: March 25, 2020 by Ellen Bramley

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that the receipt of newspapers carries no real risk of catching the Covid-19 virus.

The WHO has stated that the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, and therefore the risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus through receipt of a newspaper is infinitely small.  

Whilst precautions at a personal level, such as washing hands with soap and water, remain essential to preventing the spread of the disease in any circumstance, the WHO has stressed that “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 low”.

In an interview with BBC Radio Scotland, John Innes Centre virologist, George Lomonossoff, who uses molecular biology to understand the assembly and properties of viruses in the United Kingdom said: “Newspapers are pretty sterile because of the way they are printed and the process they’ve been through (to be produced).”

In other countries with high levels of coronavirus outbreaks, newspapers remain a part of daily life. Even in the worst-hit areas of the world, including Italy and China, newspapers have continued to publish in order to maintain this public service. In India the government has ordered a lockdown but urged publishers to continue printing and distributing newspapers.

The UK government has committed to allowing news media providers to stay open within new lockdown legislation and confirmed journalists as recognised key workers.

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