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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