Home News GMB’s Dr Hilary warns people should ‘be cautious’ when hugging

GMB’s Dr Hilary warns people should ‘be cautious’ when hugging

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Good Morning Britain’s Doctor Hilary says it’s “still time to be cautious” about hugging during Covid-19 as the risk of transmission remains “substantial”.

The GMB panel, made up of Susanna Reid, Richard Arnold, Dr Hilary and guest host Alastair Campbell, discussed the topic of hugging friends and family not in your household on the show this morning (May 10

It comes as the Prime Minister is set to give a press briefing today at 5pm to announce that family and friends can hug each other again from next week.

It’s understood that loved ones who are not in the same household will be allowed to hug one another “if they use their common sense” from May 17.

Susanna Reid asked Dr Hilary: “What’s the increased risk of transmission [of Covid-19 when hugging]?”

“Biologically it’s quite substantial,” Dr Hilary replied.

“If you’re in hugging range and you’re touching somebody you’re going to be breathing the breath that they’re exhaling, the virus is transmitted through aerosol droplets, so the risk is much higher.

He continued: “Professor Noakes from SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) is saying she’s worried. She thinks hugs should be selective, they should be short.

“So hug your children, hug your grandchildren, not promiscuous hugs we’re not talking about here.”

Dr Hillary went on to say that hugs “actually have a benefit” both physically and mentally.

“[When you hug] happy hormones are released, you feel relaxed, you feel calm, anxiety and depression diminishes.

“A lot of people are touch deprived, we live in these isolated bubbles, and the showing of human affection, through touch and through a hug, is actually very beneficial in most circumstances.

“But right now it might be a mistake because we’ve got these new variants. We’ve still got thousands of cases we know about everyday, probably a lot more that we’re not testing for.

“So it is still time to be cautious,” he added.

The lift on personal contact restrictions is dependant on whether coronavirus infection rates remain low ahead of that key lockdown date, as the Mirror reports.

According to the latest Covid data, there are 1,770 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in the latest 24 hour period in the UK.

It is likely that Boris Johnson will say in his announcement today that everyone should use their “personal judgment” and their “common sense” when it comes to hugging after May 17.

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