Experts have issued a warning to Brits ordering shopping from online retailers during the coronavirus pandemic.
With the majority of shops closed under the lockdown measures, online shopping is booming.
However, although it's doubtless offering a much-needed boost to the economy, experts have issued guidelines when it comes to opening your parcels.
Tempting as it may be to open them immediately, it's best to leave your parcels unopened for 72 hours after they arrive.
The Germ Defence website – which is working closely with Public Health England – offered the advice.
The website stated that parcels wrapped in plastic and cardboard should be left untouched for 72 hours once they have been delivered.
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This is because that's how long it takes for coronavirus to "completely die" on such surfaces.
COVID-19 could live on your parcels if someone with the virus has come into contact with them.
If you can wait three days, the risk of catching the virus is at its lowest.
The website said: "It can take up to 3 days (72 hours) for the coronavirus to completely die on hard surfaces – such as cardboard, plastic or metal."
It added: "If you can wait three days, then the risk of catching the virus is at its lowest."
Recognising that it might be tempting to immediately open parcels from clothing retailers and places such as Amazon, Brits should try to exercise restraint.
"If you are receiving a delivery, can you put things in a spare cupboard for three days before you use them?" it asked.
"If three days isn’t possible, then aim for as long as you can," it added.
The website explained the expert thinking behind the advice.
"As soon as the virus leaves our bodies it starts to die," it said. "So even after one day it is much weaker than it was before."
The site added: "Of course it’s not possible to leave everything for three days, so the other option is to clean hard surfaces with disinfectant."
Dr Ben Ainsworth from the University of Bath was part of the team who put together the advice.
Of the Germ Defence site, he said: "It only takes around 10 minutes to go through the information – but it could help protect you from coronavirus, as well as offer you a lifetime of fewer colds and flu."
The team of experts behind Germ Defence previously offered advice that was successful in reducing infection rates for seasonal and swine flu.
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