The probability of coronavirus being transmitted via food is perceived by the public as being low, according to a survey in Germany.

Two thirds said the probability of being infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) via food was low. More than one in five rated the chance as medium and 12 percent said it was high.

There are no cases which have shown any evidence of humans being infected with the new type of coronavirus by consumption of contaminated food, according to the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). As the viruses are sensitive to heat, risk of infection can be further reduced by heating foods.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has also said there is no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.

BfR survey results
Since late March, about 500 randomly selected people have been asked on the telephone every Tuesday by Kantar about perception of the risk of infection and protective measures they have taken.

Germans mainly see proximity to other people (81 percent) and contaminated door handles (61 percent) as probable transmission pathways for the virus.

Results from March 24 showed 32 percent of respondents had not yet taken any measures to protect themselves or their families from being infected but around two-thirds said they wish to protect themselves.

The most frequently mentioned measure is avoiding the public, or social distancing. Many also rely on frequent and thorough handwashing and keeping their distance from other people. Below 10 percent said paying more attention to hygiene in general or wearing protective clothing such as masks and gloves.

Almost three quarters of respondents felt they are well updated about events, and stay informed through television, internet, print media and radio. The Robert Koch Institute, the public health agency in the country, was the most frequently named official body as a source of information.

“In future, we want to measure every week how the German population perceives the risk of the novel coronavirus. We hope that this representative survey will therefore give us a kind of ‘fever curve’, from which we can deduce how people perceive the risk and how they deal with it,” said Professor Andreas Hensel, BfR president.

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