Sometime during last year, those plastic shields started to become a standard fitting on most Aussie supermarket checkouts.

The clear barrier between staff and customers was thought to act to shield virus transmission during people’s trips to the supermarket.

However, it turns out the shields might not be doing much more than providing a bit of peace of mind for those worried about community transmission.

A leading epidemiologist has told Channel 7’s Sunrise that the shields provide little protection for people.

Raina MacIntyre told Sunrise that “don’t actually do much at all because the virus travels in the air.”

The news comes after revelations that a Woolworths supermarket in Sydney was identified as an at-risk location for the virus’s spread, with thousands of shoppers potentially exposed.

The professor went on to tell Sunrise that the virus can go “around the plastic” when travelling through the air.

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