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Boris issues supermarket warning that Covid can be passed on by touching infected goods

BORIS Johnson has urged shoppers not to touch items in supermarkets unless they’re buying them to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Prime Minister made the warning in a press conference tonight as he said the disease can be spread through handled goods.

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It is the first time Mr Johnson has warned against handling goods in stores.

Shoppers are already asked to stand at least one metre apart to help stop the spread of coronavirus, while stores are also limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time.

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.

Speaking this evening, Mr 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."

It came as: 

  • 55,761 new covid-19 cases and 1,280 further deaths were reported in the latest 24-hour period
  • But the 'R rate' is below 1 in some regions in signs the lockdown is working
  • Travel corridors for ALL countries are being ditched from Monday
  • Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said earlier that people should hesitate book their summer holidays as the nation was still in the middle of a pandemic
  • The number of people in the UK to have been given a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine is 3,234,946 as of January 14, according to Government data published on Friday – a rise of 316,694 in just a day
  • Professor Chris Whitty said deaths would keep rising for at least a week – and we haven't reached the peak yet

Asda has previously introduced “no touch” rules where customers are asked not to pick up items they’re not buying.

In a message on its website, Asda tells shoppers to "TOUCH LESS" and to "pick up only what you intend to buy".

Aldi, meanwhile, asked customers to only touch trolleys that they intend to use in an update last year.

At the time, the supermarket didn't have specific rules in place about touching food in stores.

Lidl had also temporarily removed self-service tongs from its fresh bakery section and instead pre-bagged items for shoppers.

Iceland had told customers they must buy any items they touch.

But it removed the guidance from its website in April 2020 after coming under fire from one paramedic who slammed the frozen food specialist for treating NHS staff like "lepers".

Other shoppers online have raised concerns about what happens if they need to check labels for allergy information and use by dates before purchasing.

We’ve asked rival grocers – including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S – if they have any touch rules in place and we’ll be updating this story.

All supermarkets have introduced coronavirus safety rules to keep customers safe, including increased cleaning of baskets and trolleys.

Other measures include plastic shields around checkouts, plus special opening hours or designated shopping times and discounts for NHS workers and the vulnerable and elderly.

In his update today, the Prime Minister also confirmed ALL travel corridors will be scrapped from 4am this Monday, January 18.

It means anyone coming into the country will be ordered to isolate for 10 days – but people can still get a test on day five to be released.

It comes as at least two new strains from Brazil and South Africa have been identified which are even more easily spread – sparking panic among medics.

Supermarket lockdown rules for Asda, Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and M&S.

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