Ministers have privately reported evidence that Covid could be spread by people breaking wind in confined spaces such as toilets. One said he had read “credible stuff on this” in other countries, although government scientists have yet to produce an article on the matter.
The source said there had been evidence of a ‘genomically linked tracing link between two individuals of a [lavatory] cabin in Australia. “
There have also been “well-documented cases of disease spreading through drain lines during closures in Hong Kong when the U-bend dried up.”
The science is not definitive, however, and another minister told The Telegraph that since Covid is “a respiratory disease, transmission and excretion is primarily through the mouth and in fact primarily through the nose.”
A spokesperson for Boris Johnson said he was not aware of claims that the virus can be spread by gas. The spokesperson added: “We are keeping the latest scientific evidence under review. “
Healthy people tend to blow out between five and 25 times a day, and tests have shown that SARS-CoV-2 may be present in feces.
It is believed, however, that the risk of spreading Covid in this manner is lower, as wearing underwear and clothing below the waist would filter out harmful particles in the same way as a face mask.
Suggestions of the virus spreading by flatulence first surfaced in Australia last year when Norman Swan, an Australian doctor, advised on an ABC podcast, “No farting bareback. “
Scientists discovered earlier in the pandemic that genetic fragments of the virus could be detected in sewage. In the UK, authorities have stepped up a wastewater testing program to detect the first signs of coronavirus in May, and the program now covers two-thirds of England’s population.
It has helped detect local outbreaks or the presence of worrisome variants, which may be linked to specific communities through the wastewater treatment network, and Dr Jenny Harries, UK Health Security Agency chief executive, a described as “an additional detection system” for the Covid.