With just a few hours left to Valentine’s Day, a scientist has warned that people should avoid hugging and kissing in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Professor John Oxford, from Queen Mary University, said people could protect themselves from the deadly bug by employing a bit of ‘British standoffishness’.
Professor Oxford described the illness as a ‘social virus’ that relies on lots of close contact between people and said it could be defeated by cutting contact off.
The SARS-CoV-2, as it’s now officially known, spreads via droplets in someone’s breath and can survive on inanimate objects for hours and stay contagious.
It has killed more than 1,100 people, all but two of whom are in China, and struck down almost 46,000 worldwide – nine cases have been confirmed in Britain.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Professor Oxford said: ‘I think we have to galvanise ourselves in our social actions – how we interact with people I think that is extremely important; more so than wearing a mask. I think that’s a total diversion.
‘What we need to do is less of the handshaking, hugging, kissing, that sort of thing, because this virus looks like its spread by ordinary tidal breathing, not necessarily colds and coughing.’