SAGE experts have warned that playing board games this Christmas could help spread the coronavirus, while singing and karaoke are also risky.
Hugging, kissing, and handshakes should all be avoided – according to a new paper from the experts advising the government.
And the scientists have provided advice on how to reduce the risk of your shared family Christmas dinner turning into a superspreader event.
The warning comes in a document released after the governments of the four British countries decided to relax the rules over the holiday season.
From December 23 to December 27, people are allowed to gather indoors in mixed households.
SAGE released a paper called this week Reducing risks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission associated with household social interactions .
It says, “Transmission through contaminated surfaces. Games that can be played traditionally, such as board games, cards, etc., giving gifts, sharing objects and craft during religious celebrations.
“Direct evidence for fomite transmission is limited, but viral RNA has been found on high-touch surfaces in close proximity to infected humans and there is evidence that shared cigarettes and drinking cups are associated with transmission.
“High touch shared objects would increase the likelihood of fomite transfer.”
It suggests that people are playing quizzes instead of something with pieces, dice, or a board that needs to be touched.
It says, “Risks can be reduced by replacing activities with activities that minimize object sharing, for example by playing quiz-based games rather than games involving many shared playing pieces.
“Any objects that could have direct contact with the mouth pose a particularly high risk. When it comes to shared objects, good hand hygiene and avoidance of the face during activities can reduce the risks.
“Mitigation measures are most effective when targeting objects that are likely to be touched – items such as decorations are very unlikely to pose a risk as they are rarely handled.”
Regarding the rules for Christmas dinner, the document states: “Risk reduction focuses on ensuring the room is well ventilated and people spaced. Avoiding face-to-face positioning could reduce droplet transfer, with members of the same household sitting opposite each other, and space between people.Members of other households further away
“Reminders such as table place names can be useful as a physical prompt. The transfer of contacts can be reduced by reducing the use of shared serving spoons and other shared objects. Limiting the duration of a meal is likely to reduce the risks, especially if the space is small. is.
“Good hygiene with everyone who washes / cleans their hands before meals and ensuring that those who cook / serve food also practice good hygiene will reduce the risks of having a virus on their hands.”
On hugging and kissing, the document states: “Avoiding physical contact as much as possible will reduce risks, especially anything involving face-face or face-hand contact.
“Gestures such as elbow bumps or air greetings can be used as an alternative. If there is physical contact, it is a good idea to keep this to a minimum, turn faces and wash hands afterwards.”
The document Describes the risk, and ways to mitigate the risk, in everything from travel and crowded spaces to sharing bathrooms and confined spaces.