Some UK Government ministers have privately expressed concerns that coronavirus could be spread through farting, it is claimed.
They have pointed to evidence that suggests Covid-19 could be spread when an infected person breaks wind in a confined space such as a toilet.
Tests have revealed that the virus can be present in faecal matter, though the science on whether flatulence could spread Covid is not definitive.
One minister, who wasn’t named, told the Telegraph that they had read “credible-looking stuff on it” from other countries, and there had been evidence of a “genomical-linked tracing connection between two individuals from a [lavatory] cubicle in Australia”.
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The minister said there were “well-documented cases of diseases spreading through waste pipes during lockdowns in Hong Kong when the U-bend had dried out”.
UK Government scientists have not produced a paper on the topic.
Another minister, who wasn’t named in the report, said “transmission and shedding is mostly taking place through the mouth and actually mainly the nose”, as Covid is a respiratory disease.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was not aware of claims the virus could be spread through flatulence.
The spokesman said: “We keep the latest scientific evidence under review.”
In the early days of the pandemic last year, a number of experts said it was highly unlikely.
Dr William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and infectious diseases professor at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, told USA Today that the transmission of Covid through flatulence had “never been demonstrated”.
He added: “It’s very unlikely.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had said there was “no confirmed fecal-oral transmission” of the virus.
Meanwhile, discontent with the Government’s self-isolation policy grew as food industry bosses condemned changes to ease the “pingdemic” as “worse than useless”, hospitality leaders warned of a summer of closures and train operators were forced to cut services.
There were increasing calls for Mr Johnson to bring forward his wider relaxation of quarantine rules for the fully vaccinated from August 16 as businesses were hampered by staff being told to isolate as coronavirus cases soar.
In a bid to calm the concerns of industry, ministers published a limited list of sectors whose double-jabbed workers are eligible to avoid isolation if they undergo daily testing before the wider easing of rules for England.
Industry leaders said the move did not include sufficient workers, but doctors warned the problem is the Prime Minister letting the virus “rip” and not the “pings” being issued by the NHS Covid-19 app to tell contacts to isolate.