Official advice says handwashing is better at protecting against coronavirus than gloves

6 May 2020
What was claimed

Wearing protective gloves doesn’t prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Our verdict

This is true. The World Health Organisation says that regular handwashing is the best way to stop the virus spreading.

An image on Facebook has claimed that the public wearing protective gloves does little to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. The post has been shared hundreds of times. 

It says:

“Wearing gloves will not protect you from germs. COVID-19 doesn’t transmit through skin. A glove could transfer germs to any and all surfaces touched, creating an even GREATER viral spread Do not wear gloves unless you are changing them after EVERY item you touch. Replace gloves with better hand hygiene.”
This is broadly correct. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that regular hand washing is the best approach to take as gloves’ surface can get contaminated, just like bare hands can, and if you then touch your face you can get infected. 

The WHO says that the new coronavirus is primarily spread by small droplets that are expelled from the nose and mouth when someone that is infected coughs, sneezes or speaks. This can then be breathed in by others or picked up from surfaces and transferred from your hand to your eyes, nose or mouth if you touch them.

The NHS recommends regular handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. More advice from them on this is available here.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as true because protective gloves are not recommended to the public to protect against coronavirus.

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