Online shopping parcels from China delivered to you unlikely to spread Wuhan virus

The virus would have to be super potent. Or covered in faecal matter.

Belmont Lay| January 26, 09:40 PM

You went on Taobao a few weeks back to order some cheap items, and now your online shopping delivery from China has arrived at your doorstep as the Wuhan virus is in full swing.

Should you open your package and risk getting sick from catching the novel coronavirus?

Well, here's some good news.

The odds of catching the Wuhan virus from such a scenario is quite low.

Odds of catching virus via mail is low

This is at least according to one Malaysian doctor who answered this query, as reported by Sin Chew Daily.

Christopher Lee, a doctor from Sungai Buloh Hospital, who is also the National Advisor for Infectious Diseases in the Ministry of Health in Malaysia, gave a few reasons why he thinks it is relatively safe to accept parcels from China.

Lee said all parcels from China take at least 24 hours to reach its destination.

This shipping duration cuts the risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus, as the virus cannot survive on non-living things for long periods of time.

Lee rationalised that since 2019-nCoV is categorised as a coronavirus, the way it is spread would be similar to SARS and MERS -- coronavirus variants that are harmful to humans.

Lee was quoted as saying: "The SARS virus will survive longer -- up to a few days -- in a damp or wet environment. However, on dry surfaces like plastic, the virus can only live up to a few hours."

Referencing the SARS virus, he said pathogens will only survive outside of the human body for a few hours and up to four days in faecal matter.

China post taking other precautions

For more peace of mind, other measures are being taken in China to curb the spread of the Wuhan virus.

China Post’s Express Mail Service (EMS) has announced that it will delay all the shipping orders to double-disinfect the goods.

A translated message by EMS said: “To ensure the public’s safety, we will ‘double-disinfect’ the parcels and the vehicles that will go through Wuhan, delaying the shipping progress.”

But if you're still really concerned, you can opt to leave your parcel aside for a few days under the sun after you received it.

Sunshine will do its job as a natural disinfectant.

Top photo via KL吹水站 & Piximus


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