A leading health expert has warned of household items that are perfect for harbouring the deadly coronavirus if touched or used by someone who is infected.

Pulitzer-prize winner Laurie Garrett, who is a former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, has issued steps for how the public can prevent themselves from catching Covid-19.

Writing in Foreign Policy, she wrote: “During the (SARS epidemic, I travelled all over China and Hong Kong, interviewed people infected with the virus, doctors and nurses treating the disease, government officials, police – everybody.

“I was never concerned that I would become infected, despite being in the room with sick individuals. And that’s because I knew what precautions to take.”

Towels are a perfect host for the deadly coronavirus

Garrett recommends that wearing protective clothing, such as face masks while out and about, may not be enough to stop you from catching coronavirus, saying the virus can also latch onto objects inside your home.

She said one of the worst everyday object that can be a perfect virus host are towels.

“Inside your household, remove all of the towels from your bathrooms and kitchen immediately, and replace them with clean towels that have the names of each family member on them,” she warned.

“Instruct everybody in your home to only use their own towels and never touch another family member’s. Wash all towels twice a week. Damp towels provide terrific homes for viruses, like common colds, flus, and, yes, coronaviruses.

Another thing that people touch frequently that Garrett says you should be exceptionally wary of are doorknobs, explaining that if someone in the household gets sick,= they should be washed frequently.

She said: “Be careful with doorknobs. If it’s possible to open and close doors using your elbows or shoulders, do so.

“Wear gloves to turn a doorknob – or wash your hands after touching it. If anybody in your home takes sick, wash your doorknobs regularly. Similarly, be cautious with stairway banisters, desktops, cell phones, toys, laptops – any objects that are handheld.

“As long as you handle only your own personal objects, you will be okay – but if you need to pick up someone else’s cell phone or cooking tools or use someone else’s computer keyboard, be mindful of not touching your face and wash your hands immediately after touching the object.”

Coronavirus has infected tens of thousands worldwide, killing nearly 3,000, after initially spreading from the Chinese city of Wuhan where it was first reported.

Cases have occurred on every continent except Antarctica, with a number of countries declaring Covid-19 a national emergency.