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Public warned over careless shopping practices amid COVID-19 pandemic

Evoke.ie logo Evoke.ie 1/4/2020 Ciaran Mather
a woman standing in front of a store © Provided by Evoke.ie

People should feel safe going to their local supermarkets for their shopping, but careless shopping practices can actually do more harm than good.

In fact, the Irish Global Health Network (IGHN) recently called supermarkets ‘high-risk sites of infection’ for COVID-19, due to people improperly handling bags both at stores and at home.

Niall Roche, an environmental health specialist, explained to The Irish Times how COVID-19 can persist even on surfaces that appear clean: ‘We know that the virus can survive on hard surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours.’

a person standing in front of a store: Aldi. Pic: Shutterstock © Provided by Evoke.ie Aldi. Pic: Shutterstock

‘It can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours. Supermarkets should adhere to the same guidance and practices that are being exercised in healthcare facilities, particularly for vulnerable shoppers,’ he added.

The IGHN also said that more information is needed for the public, and as such, in partnership with the Environmental Health Association of Ireland and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in the UK, they have released a set of guidelines for shoppers to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Some of the organisation’s guidelines include: using the non-dominant hand to pick up goods which subsequently reduces the cross-contamination risk from touching of the mouth, nose or eyes; making contactless payments and avoiding contact with surfaces of any kind.

a person standing in front of a store: Pic: Tom Werner via Getty Images © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Tom Werner via Getty Images

The IGHN has also called for more detailed and consistent guidance, comprehensive practice by supermarkets and oversight by the relevant authorities to ensure that workers, frontline medical staff and shoppers are safe from COVID-19.

Further guidelines and advice from the IGHN can be found here.

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