Quarter of UK now off work as hand-washing epidemic grips nation

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Britain’s active workforce has been decimated as a highly contagious strain of hand-washing sweeps across the country.

It began as a distant threat in a country thousands of miles away. However, the British government is now on a war footing as it draws up emergency plans to deal with a disease that could ruin the economy and break an already fragile NHS – over zealous hand-washing.

Men are suddenly spending thirty seconds longer in the toilet. Road accidents are on the rise as reckless motorists do their ablutions while driving.

Supermarkets have sold out of anti-bacterial handwash – even though that’s about as effective a protection from viruses as putting a traffic cone on your head and dancing the lambada.

Simon Williams’ story is typical of many.

“I started working from home because there were just so many people on the train using sanitising gel,” he said as he washed his hands. “It felt inevitable I’d catch it.

“Unfortunately I became hyper-aware of how filthy my laptop was and had to move my desk into the bathroom just to be near the soap.

“I’d wash my hands, turn off the tap, realise I’d touched a dirty tap, wash my hands again, turn off the tap, realise I’d touched a dirty tap… after several hours I had the idea of using a towel to turn off the tap. But then I just had this notion that the towel was chock full of arse particles and had to wash my hands…

“I can’t go on like this. I only get sick pay for so long and the rent is due.

“I’m terrified that the bailiffs will come knocking on the door – they’re bound to be full of germs.”