We should stop kissing each other in public in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to a renowned professor.
Lord Winston, who works at Imperial College London, has advised people not to greet their friends with a peck on the cheek.
The Labour peer issued the warning during a debate in the House of Lords on Tuesday over the government’s planned response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Lord Winston, who specialises in fertility, said: “It seems to me that simply not shaking hands is only part of the problem.”
He added: “Social kissing seems, to me, something that we should not be doing. It's very easy to do that.
“Somebody has tried to kiss me twice today and I don't mean in a way that my wife, who might be listening, is concerned.
“We have to realise we should not be touching our nose, our mouth, our eyes.”
Tory Lord Bethell also warned that “kissing is wonderful but potentially dangerous”.
But he was more concerned with people touching their nose constantly.
He said: “We have had detailed conversations about kissing, shaking hands, fist-bumping and all manner of social intercourse.
“The guidance from the chief medical officer is clear. It is the touching of your own nose that is the real problem.
“The average person touches their own nose between 70 and 100 times a day. That is why we focus on the message of washing hands.”
According to the latest Department of Health figures, 85 people in the UK have been diagnosed with Covid-19.
The new government publicity campaign seeks to drive home the message that regular hand-washing is the single most important action individuals can take.
It comes the day after the government launched its “battle plan” to combat the outbreak with a warning that up to a fifth of the UK workforce could be off sick when the virus hits its peak.
The new adverts say hand-washing should be for 20 seconds, using soap and water or hand sanitiser.