THE UK is currently on lockdown, with only essential travel allowed such as for exercise, food or medicine.
Thankfully there are a number of ways you can stay safe even when going outside.
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Essential travel can include supermarkets and pharmacies, which cannot be avoided by most families when buying food for the household.
Concerned families who want to avoid catching coronavirus can keep themselves safe even if forced to leave the house.
Here are some of the best ways to keep you and your family safer from the virus when outside.
1. Go cashless
The World Health Organisation (WHO) are instead urging people to use contactless payments in a bid to "reduce the risk of transmission".
WHO claim money clings onto the virus, and also changes hands multiple times so is much more likely to pick up bacteria.
Using your bank card instead is advised, with the contactless limit rising from £30 to £45.
You should still disinfect the card when finished using as well.
2. Avoid using your hands
You are most likely to spread the bacteria to yourself from your hands, if you touch other objects or your face.
Instead, try using your elbow, feet or knuckles when opening doors or pressing buttons.
While this still means you may come into contact with the virus, it is easier to avoid spreading and you can also then wash your clothes when home.
3. Social distance
Staying over 2m away from other people is one of the best ways to avoid spreading coronavirus.
While this can be tricky in shops, this can be done while queuing or while walking on streets by crossing the road.
Some shops are also only allowing a certain number of people at a time, so waiting outside for this can also lower the risk of transmission.
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4. Carry hand sanitiser and wipes with you
You can't always avoid touching things while outside, from door handles to food objects.
Using hand sanitiser or disinfectant wipes can stop the virus from spreading to everything from the moment you leave the house to the moment you return.
Use them when handling goods in a shop, or touching a trolley or door, and always do it before touching your face or other people.
5. Wear a face mask
There are conflicting opinions on whether wearing a face mask can prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Dr Julie Vaishampayan, chairwoman of the public health committee for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, says that surgical masks are really “the last line of defence.”
She warned that as they aren't fitted or sealed, the masks can leave gaps around the mouth "so you're not filtering out all the air that comes in".
However, infectious disease doctor Dr Amesh Adalja, from Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, says that they do block most large respiratory droplets from other people's sneezes and coughs.
He added that the biggest problem though is people not using the masks properly – he advises avoiding putting your hand underneath the mask, either to touch your mouth or scratch your nose.
WHO do not currently advise wearing a mask – although this is currently being investigated.
6. Wash your car or bike
When travelling outside, your bike or car could be spreading the virus too.
Washing the handles, as well as anything in the car you touched such as the steering wheel and gear stick can reduce the risk.
People on Twitter have urged others to clean their door handles as a precaution before even getting in, after a man was caught licking his hand before touching people's cars.
7. Don't buy open produce
Buying food which is open means lots of people are handling it, and could be spreading the virus without realising.
Instead, opt for food which is packed so that the food you are buying won't have been handled as much.
If you need to buy something which isn't sealed, then use gloves to grab them as well as thoroughly washing the fruit and veg when home.
8. Stop touching your mobile phone
We all use our phones constantly, from looking at directions to texting people.
This makes the phone one of the biggest carriers of bacteria.
Leave it in your bag or your pocket unless you need it urgently.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of Patient.info, told The Sun you should be "wiping your phone down as much as you wash your hands".
She added: "Gentle baby wipes are unlikely to get rid of the germs effectively. Instead, use alcohol based wipes."
When and where am I allowed to go out?
The lockdown has banned the following:
- Social events, including weddings and baptisms
- Communal play and exercise areas inside parks are closed – but not all parks themselves
- Places of worship such as churches and mosques, except for funerals
- Travel on roads, trains and buses unless it’s essential to get to work.
You are allowed to go to essential shops which can include:
- Petrol stations
- Post offices
- Hardware stores
9. Be aware of what is in your bag
Before you head out, be aware of what you are touching before putting it in your bag.
Your keys and wallet will be touched the most, especially when shopping and then opening your front door.
When getting home, make sure to wipe them down with cleaning wipes as well as the inside of your bag.
Also avoid putting your bag down on surfaces you use such as a table or the kitchen counter, and instead keep it on the floor.
10. Wash as soon as you're home
As soon as you get in the door, you should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before touching anything else.
It is also worth keeping your outdoor clothes away from all of your other clothes, and don't sit on chairs or seats while wearing them.
If you are washing them, go for a high temperature of 60 degrees as the virus won't be killed by a 30 degree wash.
If you can't wash the items, such boots or coats, then leave them for a few weeks away from everything before using them again.
Your post is still safe from the virus too, meaning your letters and parcels are unlikely to transmit the virus.
Research reveals that the virus has been detected on cardboard for just 24 hours, and decreases rapidly over time.
If you're still concerned, then it is advised to take a picture of your letters and then throw them away, before washing your hands, according to Human Biology and Biological Sciences lecturer Dr Perpetua Emeagi.
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