CDC warns of ‘aggressive rodent behavior’ as lockdown orders lift

The post-coronavirus world could be a real rat race.

With humans all stuck inside under stay-at-home orders, rats and other rodents have become more aggressive while scavenging for food, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in a new advisory.

Now they could be ready to unleash a wave of “aggressive rodent behavior” on an unsuspecting public as society begins to reopen.

“Community-wide closures have led to a decrease in food available to rodents, especially in dense commercial areas,” the CDC said. “Some jurisdictions have reported an increase in rodent activity as rodents search for new sources of food.”

“Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to rodents and reports of unusual or aggressive rodent behavior,” the advisory said.

The CDC urged residents and restaurant owners to seal up holes where the hangry rats could get inside and to clear up debris and garbage.

“Follow established guidelines when cleaning up after rodent infestations to prevent exposure to rodent-borne diseases,” the advisory said. “Fleas are common on rodents. In area of heavy rodent infestations, workers should consider using a repellent registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency…”

Urban rats struggled to find food during the lockdown, and in some cases even resorted to rodent cannibalism.

“They’re mammals just like you and I, and so when you’re really, really hungry, you’re not going to act the same — you’re going to act very bad, usually,” Bobby Corrigan, an urban rodentologist, told NBC News last month. “So these rats are fighting with one another, now the adults are killing the young in the nest and cannibalizing the pups.”

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NHS diabetes chief warns of piling on 'life changing' lockdown pounds

NHS diabetes chief warns of the danger of piling on ‘life changing’ lockdown pounds as he fears many Britons have gained weight while stuck indoors

  • Professor Jonathan Valabhji has warned of negative health effects of lockdown
  • He warned that adults were burning fewer calories with fewer daily activities
  • But added that the pandemic was an opportunity to make changes in behavior 
  • Study found that people with diabetes are twice as likely to die from coronavirus
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Britons have probably piled on the pounds while stuck indoors, the country’s top obesity and diabetes doctor warned yesterday.

Jonathan Valabhji said adults were burning fewer calories because they were not travelling to work or carrying out other daily activities.

He said the pandemic should however serve as a ‘life-changing’ trigger for changes in behaviour – especially as studies have indicated that coronavirus is more deadly for the obese.

Professor Valabhji’s research showed this week that patients with Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity, were twice as likely to die than otherwise healthy individuals. His study of 24,000 patients found that nearly a third of those who died had diabetes, and that being morbidly obese further increased the risk of death.

Pictured: NHS diabetes chief, Professor Jonathan Valabhji

Professor Valabhji, who is national clinical director for diabetes and obesity at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: ‘A lot of people have spent a lot of time sitting indoors and there is a risk people have gained weight.

‘We won’t know that [for certain] until we see people start emerging from social distancing and we start putting people on scales.

‘For someone like myself, it’s a concern, it’s a worry for me.

‘You can see the risk that people might have gained weight sitting at home limited in what exercise they can do, not going about their daily activities and going to work. Am I worried that people have gained weight during this time? Yes, it’s not unreasonable to suppose that if people are stuck indoors they may have gained weight.’

Professor Valabhji, a consultant diabetes specialist at St Mary’s Hospital in central London, said coronavirus was an opportunity to start a healthier life.

‘One would hope that simple public health messages would land and land a little more strongly. If this is an ideal time to land a public health message – which I do believe it is – it would be eating healthily, eating a little less if you’re in the obese range and losing weight. Exercise is all part of that especially at a time when we’re no longer limited to one piece of exercise a day.’

The professor said that although adults could not change the other major risk factors for coronavirus – age and ethnicity – they could influence obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

‘The important thing about weight loss is that it has to be sustainable – incorporating habits that will last,’ he added.

‘Slowly and gradually incorporating habits that one can maintain is important. If people are in the obese range, then eating a little bit less, eating more healthily and exercising a bit more are intuitive ways to go forward.’

Earlier this month NHS figures showed that 26 per cent of men and 29 per cent of women are obese, which is defined as having a Body Mass Index of more than 30. Around 4.8million Britons have diabetes – the majority Type 2 – and rates have doubled in 20 years in line with rising obesity.

These levels are significantly higher than many other Western countries, prompting speculation that they may partly explain why the UK’s coronavirus death rates are the worst in Europe. Professor Valabhji said: ‘Diabetes is an independent risk factor for passing away with Covid… whether that is contributing to higher death rates in this country compared with others, I don’t think I can answer that and similarly with obesity.’

Other health experts are concerned that adults and children have been snacking more since the lockdown and ordering more takeaways. Caroline Cerny of the Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of 44 medical colleges, charities and campaign groups, said: ‘Several surveys have shown that we are all snacking more during lockdown and it’s likely that this will lead to weight gain.

‘This isn’t helped by food companies continuing to aggressively market their unhealthy foods to us to ensure they stay centre stage in our minds while we are a captive audience.’

Earlier this month the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, ordered health officials to trawl through the records of thousands of pandemic victims to determine whether obesity, ethnicity and gender raise the risk of death from coronavirus.

The review was commissioned after researchers at the University of Liverpool warned that obesity increased the risk of dying from the virus by 37 per cent. 

WHY DOES DIABETES RAISE THE RISK OF COVID-19? 

Diabetes puts people at a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 because it makes the immune system weaker, scientists say.

The illness, which affects more than four million people in the UK, is caused by abnormal levels of sugar in the blood. For most people this takes the form of Type 2 diabetes, in which there is too much sugar in the blood.

This, researchers, say, thickens the blood and reduces its ability to carry substances around the body at speed.

Dr Hajira Dambha-Miller, a GP and specialist in diabetes, said a patient’s blood becomes ‘like treacle’ as a result of high sugar levels.

‘Physically, it’s harder for the immune system to get to the virus,’ she said. ‘The virus bugs do a lot of damage before the immune system even realises it’s there.’

Therefore, when someone is infected with the coronavirus, it may take longer for their body to respond and fight it off, and the response may be less effective when it does begin.

Their illness doesn’t make a diabetic person any more likely to catch the virus itself – that is indiscriminate – just less likely to be able to recover quickly.

Dr Dambha-Miller added: ‘When the body does kick in, it won’t work as it should do. The immune cells are damaged because they’ve been saturated in sugar for years and don’t work the way they should.’  

The American Diabetes Association says it’s not clear if COVID-19 will pose a difference in risk between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

But the risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 is likely to be lower if diabetes is well-managed no matter whether it is type 1 or type 2.

The Association explains that people who have diabetes often have other health problems, such as obesity, heart disease or high blood pressure, which in turn contribute more to their risk of dying with COVID-19.

The ADA said: ‘Having heart disease or other complications in addition to diabetes could worsen the chance of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, like other viral infections, because your body’s ability to fight off an infection is compromised.

‘Viral infections can also increase inflammation, or internal swelling, in people with diabetes. This is also caused by above-target blood sugars, and both could contribute to more severe complications.’ 

People of black African or Caribbean, or south Asian, backgrounds are more likely to develop diabetes and have also been found to be at more risk of dying if they catch the coronavirus.

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Defiant Piers Morgan warns PM he’ll replay & attack ministers’ interviews with other programmes until GMB ‘boycott’ ends – The Sun

PIERS Morgan has warned he will replay and attack ministers’ interviews with other breakfast programmes while the government boycotts Good Morning Britain.

The defiant host said that GMB will be “sub-interviewing” ministers because the government is refusing to let them appear on the show.


The government stopped giving GMB interviews with ministers after a string of combative interviews with Piers.

Ministers have not appeared on the morning show for over 20 days, despite giving interviews to rivals BBC Breakfast.

This afternoon, Piers warned Boris Johnson that he would replay and attack ministers’ interviews with other programmes while the boycott continues.

He wrote on Twitter: “Hi @BorisJohnson @10Downing Street – given your outrageous ongoing boycott of @GMB, we will now be sub-interviewing all cabinet minister appearances on other breakfast shows & holding them/you to account that way.”

On today’s show, Piers played out an interview that pensions secretary Therese Coffey gave to the BBC about Covid-19 testing.

Holding his phone to a microphone on his suit, viewers heard the Cabinet minister say: “I recognise that there have only been a handful of days where more than 100,000 people have gone for that test.”

Flanked by Susanna Reid, a seething Piers responded: “Therese Coffey, if you were on our programme, if you had the guts to come on, I would have said to you there have been no dates – zero, nada, nil.

“What you just said was a lie.”


He added: “You just told BBC viewers that there had been a handful of days when over 100,000 have been tested.

“No, there have been a handful of days when you have apparently conducted over 100,000 tests.”

Earlier in the show, Piers interrupted Dr Hilary Jones to blast the Pensions Secretary after he read her comments to the BBC on his tablet.

He said: “She’s just said we can look back on our testing, how we increased capacity, with pride. With pride.

The agitated host continued: “It’s a matter of pride for the government that our testing was such a spectacular failure.”

In April, Piers was hit with 1,910 Ofcom complaints after an explosive interview with care minister Helen Whately.

Some viewers accused the 55-year-old of bullying the Conservative MP, who he accused of talking “utter nonsense”, while he insisted that he was holding the minister “to account”.

Ms Whately appeared on the show again a week later for another morning showdown.

After the Care Minister told a furious Piers that she did not have accurate figures for the number of people who have died in care homes, he said: “You are the care minister, how many more have died than the Government figures?”

He continued: “I don’t want to wait a week, we had this conversation last week and you didn’t know then either.”

Ofcom has since said it will not investigate the complaints.

In a statement, the watchdog said: “It is clearly in the public interest that broadcasters are able to hold those making political decisions to account, particularly during a major national crisis, such as the coronavirus pandemic.”

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Top coronavirus expert warns winter 2020 could be 'darkest in modern history'

A coronavirus expert has warned that the United States faces ‘its darkest winter in modern history’ if the disease is not quickly controlled.

Immunologist Dr Rick Bright will warn of huge death tolls in his statement to a government committee on Thursday, and will say: ‘Our window of opportunity is closing.

‘If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities.’

Dr Bright’s statement continued: ‘The undeniable fact is there will be a resurgence of (Covid-19) this fall, greatly compounding the challenges of seasonal influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our health-care system.”

‘Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history.’

Dr Bright will make his remarks to the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee after being fired from his government job earlier this year, allegedly for warning Donald Trump’s administration to prepare for the pandemic. The president has come under fire for being too slow to respond to the pandemic, pushing unproven or dangerous cures, and now hailing states which have begun to reopen despite warnings of a second spike of Covid-19.

A US federal watchdog agency said there were ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe Bright was removed from his post as head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority after sounding the alarm at the Department of Health and Human Services. Bright claims he became a target of criticism when he urged early efforts to invest in vaccine development and stock up on supplies.

He says the only way to avoid the disaster he predicts is to implement a national testing strategy to grasp the scale of the problem, rather than leaving it to individual states. Bright also called on large-scale public education on hand-washing and wearing masks. He appeared to make a dig at President Trump’s refusal to don a face-covering, saying: ‘Frankly, our leaders must lead by modeling the behavior.’

The immunologist’s other advice involves dramatically increasing production of vital medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as the implementation of a distribution system to ensure that areas which need supplies most can get them, rather than forcing them to bid against one another for equipment.

President Trump has dismissed Dr Bright’s claims against him and claims the medic is a ‘disgruntled guy.’

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Cuomo warns New York coronavirus deaths are HIGHER than reported as toll nears 20,000 – The Sun

NEW YORK Gov Andrew Cuomo warned that New York's death toll is likely higher than reported at a news conference Wednesday.

"I think we’re going to find when we’re all said and done that the deaths are much different than we thought they were," Cuomo said.

Although it was originally believed COVID-19 outbreaks in the US originated from China, the CDC revealed last week that cases likely stemmed from Europe.

The health agency said it's possible that rather than cases spreading in America in February and March, they could have been in the country in November or December of last year, Cuomo noted.

Because of this new information, Cuomo said it's likely that New York City's current death toll of nearly 20,000 will likely be higher.

"I think this is all going to change over time," Cuomo said of the death toll.

"And I think it’s going to be worse when it’s all said and tallied.

"I think it’s going to be worse," he added.

He said that in addition to the number of deaths increasing from last year before COVID-19 outbreaks were identified in February and March, that the number will rise from people who have died of the virus in their homes.

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Justice Department warns of SBA loan fraud

Small business loan program hit with tech glitches as second round of funding begins

The Payroll Protection Program restarted Monday morning with an additional $310 billion in loans available to small businesses. FOX Business’ Edward Lawrence with more.

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As the Small Business Administration resumes its application process for much-needed loans nationwide amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Justice Department is warning the public against scams targeting those desperately seeking relief – and urging them to beware of fraudsters impersonating government authorities, officials said.

Scam artists have begun utilizing grant and loan fraud and phishing scams and have set their sights on unknowing victims willing to hand over their money or personal information to get one step closer to receiving their small business loans.

SMALL BUSINESS LOAN PROGRAM PLAGUED BY OUTAGES, DELAYS AS SECOND WAVE OF AID BEGINS

“Every dollar that these thieves steal is a dollar that’s not putting someone back to work or that’s failing to assist small businesses [to] rebuild,” U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman, who represents the Western District of Kentucky, said in a press release on the topic.

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On Friday, federal officials based in Louisville emphasized guidelines put in place by the SBA for those who think they’ve been the victims of such crimes.

First and foremost, the SBA does not initiate contact with potential loan applicants or grant recipients. Therefore, if someone proactively reaches out to you regarding a 7a or Disaster loan or grant, or telling you they can help you get approved – as long as you pay them money – “suspect fraud,” the SBA’s Office of the Inspector General warns in a separate document.

LUXURY HOTEL OWNER IS BIGGEST BENEFICIARY OF CORONAVIRUS SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAM WITH NEARLY $60M IN AID

A broker is limited in how much he or she can charge a borrower, capping it at 3 percent for loans worth $50,000 and less, or 2 percent for any loans between $50,000 and $1 million, the guidelines state. Loans over $1 million receive another one-quarter percent.

“If you are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and receive email correspondence asking for PII, ensure that the referenced application number is consistent with the actual application number,” the guidelines state. “These may be attempts to obtain your personally identifiable information (PII), to obtain personal banking access, or to install ransomware/malware on your computer.”

“For Sale By Owner” and “Closed Due to Virus” signs are displayed in the window of a store in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., on April 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

CORONAVIRUS SMALL BUSINESS BILL STILL INCLUDES LOOPHOLE FOR BIG COMPANIES

Any emails from the SBA will come from email addresses that end with “sba.gov.”

Any member of the public who suspects fraud can report it online here. Anyone with questions about the loans can email the SBA’s Answer Desk at [email protected]

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Man Utd legend Jaap Stam warns De Ligt AGAINST Old Trafford transfer and tells him to fight for Juventus future – The Sun

FORMER Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has warned Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt about a move away from the Italian giants.

Stam insists De Ligt should be patient at Juventus after an underwhelming start to life in Italy since his move from Ajax last summer.

Manchester United were considering a move for the Dutch defender but Stam believes De Ligt should stay put to help his development.

De Ligt, 20, has only managed 15 starts in Serie A since his £68million transfer from the Dutch side, and has struggled to make an impact.

Stam told TuttoJuve.com: "I think it’s fundamental that De Ligt stays at Juve for many years, because it’s the only way to improve, by dealing with the best, learning to live with pressure in important Champions League and Serie A games.

"He was criticised a little but had to understand how to adapt to a different style of football.

"He’s still young and Matthijs is at a big club with far more pressure than he was accustomed to.

"Juventus invested a large sum to sign him, some way would say too much, but in my view he has done well so far.

"The experience has made him believe in himself more."

United were considering a swap deal for De Ligt which would see Paul Pogba return to Juve.

The French midfielder only has a year remaining on his current deal and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be desperate to sort the situation out quickly.

Stam added: "He just needs to learn Italian so he can communicate with his teammates."

The 47-year-old insists De Ligt should be learning as much as he can from Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, adding: "They are top level defenders, real winners accustomed to the biggest games.

"They are the best centre-backs in Italy and they can teach him so much on the art of defending."

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WaterNSW warns of ‘extreme’ risks from expansion of catchment coal mine

The agency in charge of Sydney's water catchment says it remains "strongly opposed" to the expansion of a coal mine, warning that without increased setbacks from two dam walls "risks and consequences could be extreme".

In a letter to the Planning Department last month, WaterNSW's manager for catchment protection Clay Preshaw said the extension of South32's Dendrobium underground mine in the Illawarra region could also trigger rock fracturing and potential water losses for nine major watercourses and about 100 smaller tributaries.

Duncan Rayner, a UNSW researcher, at a dried-up creek within the Metropolitan Special Area over the Dendrobium coal mine.Credit:Nick Moir

"WaterNSW remains strongly opposed to this project in its current form as none of its key concerns have been adequately addressed" on the expansion plan, Mr Preshaw wrote.

The agency believed there has been "insufficient consideration" of a mine design that would prevent or minimise drainage cracks reaching the surface. South32's predicted additional losses of as many as 5.2 million litres a day from the extension may also be an underestimation, he said.

The agency also reaffirmed its worry that the project could affect its ability to construct and operate future proposed infrastructure works, such as the Lower Cordeaux Dam and Avon Deep Water Access projects.

"WaterNSW also reiterates its position that the setbacks from the [Avon and Cordeaux] dam walls should be increased to at least 1500m due to potential far-field differential movements," Mr Preshaw said. "Should any impacts occur to these dams, there is the potential that the risks and consequences could be extreme."

Swamp 1B in the Metropolitan Special Area is drying out, with WaterNSW and environmental scientist blaming longwall coal mining at the Dendrobium mine underneath as the main culprit.Credit:Nick Moir

A Planning spokeswoman said the department "will fully consider the issues raised by WaterNSW in its assessment of the expansion, and has recently asked South32 to provide a detailed response".

A South32 spokeswoman said it takes its environmental responsibilities "seriously". "Dendrobium Mine operates under a well-established regulatory framework, which includes strict performance criteria and comprehensive monitoring and reporting requirements," she said.

"South32 has addressed the relevant recommendations of the Independent Expert Panel report in the recent Response to Submissions report. Many of the IEP's recommendations are consistent with our operations and already incorporated into our operating system and processes. South32 does not longwall mine beneath dams, named water courses or key stream features."

Planning Minister Rob Stokes on Saturday announced the government would accept all 50 recommendations of an independent expert panel for future mining in Sydney's catchments.

Nic Clyde, a spokesman for Lock the Gate, said WaterNSW "hasn't pulled any punches" in its criticism of South32's plans.

“In 2018, it was revealed six billion litres of water had been diverted from creeks feeding Sydney water catchments into underground coal mines in the special areas," Mr Clyde said. “The government needs to declare the special areas off-limits to new coal mining."

Stuart Khan, a professor in UNSW's School of Civil & Environmental Engineering Research, said "we would be very foolish" to ignore WaterNSW's "wide-ranging and very significant" concerns.

"I strongly agree with the concerns of WaterNSW regarding the heavy reliance on ‘post-approval’ management of risks," Professor Khan said. "Once a project is approved, the major opportunities to avoid significant risks are lost."

Labor's energy spokesman Adam Searle said any planning approvals "should be based on the science, including protecting our precious water".

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EastEnders star warns Whitney may not have a happy ending

Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) has been through hell over the past couple of months in EastEnders, but her troubles are set to continue in the coming episodes, as Leo King’s (Tom Wells) mum Michaela Turnbull (Fiona Allen) returns to Walford, and her presence inevitably causes havoc for the young woman.

Whitney has been preparing with Gray (Toby-Alexander Smith) for her impending trial, but matters are complicated further in the coming episodes, as Michaela arrives back on the Square in an effort to track down Whitney.

Upon doing so, she speaks to the young woman, and her true colours come to light, as she blame her for everything that’s transpired — leaving Gray to defuse the heated situation.

Speaking about the confrontation, actress Shona said: ‘When Whitney first saw Michaela she felt really sorry for her but she also can’t help but feel guilty after what happened.’

‘She’s not scared of Michaela but she’s scared of what Michaela thinks of Whitney.’

Afterwards, Gray and Chantelle (Jessica Plummer) attempt to calm Whitney down, but — later — Michaela arrives at the Vic, resulting in Gray ushering her out with a warning.

Later, Whitney reveals to Sonia (Natalie Cassidy) that she believes prison is now a certainty for her.

Given everything that Whitney’s been through, it’s no wonder that she’s struggling to regain positive.

Speaking about the character’s state of mind, Shona said: ‘She still can’t sleep, she can’t get it out of her head, you never would – would you? And she’s just every day thinking about the trial.’

https://youtube.com/watch?v=nwL0ioi-aMM%3Fversion%3D3%26rel%3D1%26fs%3D1%26autohide%3D2%26showsearch%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26iv_load_policy%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

‘Whitney is completely convinced that even though she knows it was self-defence, she believes that it ended up really badly so she deserves to go to prison. She thinks she’s never going to get any happiness.’

One to watch: Monday 13 April at 8pm on BBC One.

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GP warns coronavirus germs can linger on your bank card and you should disinfect it once a week to help stop spread – The Sun

A GP has warned you should be disinfecting your bank card once a week to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

Dr Chike Emeagi, Medical Director of Hampstead Aesthetics Clinic, said germs from the virus could survive on the surface of card readers long enough to be transferred to your card when you make a payment.

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Speaking to Femail, Dr Emagi stressed that the risk posed was low, but said germs can also linger on a number of everyday accessories.

"I can certainly envisage a scenario where your card could be contaminated with microbes from those whom have used the exact same card reader previously," he said. 

"Germs can hide in nooks and crannies in objects including watches, rings, credit cards, coins and bank notes – things we ordinarily would not worry about.

"It important to note that the possibility of catching coronavirus through your card is low but theoretical."

"The issue is that from an infection point of view, handling a credit card is similar to touching any other surface – doorknobs, stair-rails etc.

"Any surface has potential to harbour germs-bacteria and viruses."

Dr Emeagi recommended using disinfectant wipes on your cards – particularly those you use regularly – and warm, soapy water to clean your jewellery.

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Studies are still being conducted to establish the key risks associated with coronavirus, but research has already suggested it can stay in the air up to three hours, on cardboard for 24 hours, and on plastic or stainless steel for 72 hours.

A statement released recently by the World Health Organisation said: "With proper hand cleaning, the risk of being infected with the new coronavirus by touching objects, including coins, banknotes or indeed credit cards, is very low."

Dr Emeagi added: "The frictional force of wiping is said to be sufficient to wipe away any virus, especially with soap or chloride-based cleaners.

"But the main consideration is to use caution."

The coronavirus has infected over 650,000 people and killed almost 31,000 globally since breaking out in December.

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