Dr Hilary Jones has warned that hugs could pose a risk ahead of social distancing rules loosening next week as he joined today’s Good Morning Britain.
The next stage of the road map out of lockdown is expected to go ahead as planned and from May 17, most social contact rules outdoors will be lifted, although gatherings of more than 30 will remain illegal.
When asked by Susanna Reid what the risk of hugging is, Dr Hilary replied: ‘If you’re in hugging range and you’re touching somebody and your face is right next to theirs, 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 then proceeded to echo professor Catherine Noakes of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and said that hugs should be selective and short.
‘It could be more dangerous than keeping at a distance and being sensible,’ Dr Hilary continued.
Although the television doctor did acknowledge that hugging has health benefits as they help to release ‘happy hormones’ which make you feel more relaxed and diminishes anxiety and depression, he implored people to remain cautious.
‘This showing of human affection through touch, through a hug, is very beneficial in most circumstances, but right now, it might be a mistake because we’ve got these new variants,’ Dr Hilary added.
‘We’ve still got 2,000 cases that we know about every day… so it is still time to be cautious.’
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.
Got a story? If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.