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No evidence quarantining clothes can stop the spread of coronavirus, scientist says

The science behind quarantining clothes to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus does not exist, a scientist has said.

Instead, regular and thorough hand-washing will need to become a habitual part of shopping on the high street to prevent transmission, Bill Keevil, professor of environmental healthcare at the University of Southampton, said.

Installing copper alloy surfaces on touch points, such as trolleys and door handles, could also reduce infection rates as copper has been found to kill similar viruses in minutes, he said.

Previous research into superbug bacteria and viruses, such as flu, norovirus and coronavirus, found they can survive on hard surfaces for days, but it is unknown if they remain on fabrics.

“If people have washed their hands properly, you might argue that there shouldn’t be a transmission risk onto the fabrics.

“But people are now suggesting if you try on a garment and you don’t want it, that garment should be put into quarantine for several days before it’s then being put back onto the shelves,” Prof Keevil told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. 

His comments come as non-essential stores are set to reopen form June 15, and questions have been raised whether clothes should be quarantined after they’ve been tried on, or touched by customers.


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