Hoax messages circulating on social media suggesting there is an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 from fuel pumps, have been criticised and rejected by health and fuel officials.
Some of the false posts being shared on platforms such as Twitter and WhatsApp, claim to be information direct from senior nurses.
However, according to The Sun sources, Public Health England (HSE) have debunked the theory that fuel pumps carry more risk than any other surfaces touched.
A HSE spokesperson told The Sun: "Petrol pumps are no worse than other surfaces, although we do recommend people use gloves and wash their hands after using them."
A Shell spokesperson speaking on the topic of COVID-19, said: “Shell is doing many things to keep our staff and customers safe and healthy across our global network of service stations, such as carrying out enhanced cleaning operations and increasing stocks of sanitation products and other essential goods.”
It is not just traditional petrol and diesel fueling stations that have spoken on the subject of the COVID-19 outbreak. Electric car charging networks are also keen to stress the importance of following government advice by cleaning hands after using a charging point.
A spokesperson from BP Chargemaster, one of the market leaders in electric car charging, wrote: “Our team of field service engineers carry out regular site visits and maintenance checks, which have always included cleaning the units where required. We will continue to carry out these visits and get our team to clean the units, but it will not be possible for us to do this between every charging session, given the size of our network and the level of utilisation.
“We recommend that customers follow government advice when it comes to washing your hands regularly, specifically before and after using any public charging point – not just those on the Polar and Charge Your Car networks.
“Given the official advice about avoiding restaurants, pubs and cafes for social distancing purposes, we recommend the use of hand sanitiser gels before and after using charging points.”
The Irish Petroleum Industry Association also released a statement on the topic of fuel pump COVID-19 contamination, saying: "We are aware of messages being shared on social media and wanted to inform customers that pump handles are no more or less prone to the spread of infection than any other hard surface and to outline the significant steps we are taking to combat the spread of Covid-19 and keep our valued customers safe.
“We are following all advice from the HSE and relevant authorities and would ask our valued customers to do the same."