Are packages from China safe from coronavirus?


According to the CDC, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks. — 123rf.com

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted on its website that there is no evidence to support the transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) associated with imported goods, with no such cases in the United States so far.

“There is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures, ” it said on its FAQ (frequently asked questions).

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets, it added.

However, the public health institute warned that there is still a lot that is unknown about the newly emerged coronavirus and how it spreads.

It said it’s using the information from two earlier coronaviruses – SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) – as a guide though it doesn’t know for sure if the new virus will behave the same way.

The 2019-nCoV is more genetically related to SARS than MERS, but both are betacoronaviruses with their origins in bats, it posted.

E-commerce platform Shopee posted on Twitter that it’s disinfecting its transit warehouse in China daily and monitoring the health of its employees.

It also said that all parcels from China are uniformly disinfected by the airlines and only released after customs inspection and quarantine.

Lazada, also an e-commerce company, said in a statement that “there is no indication of risk of contracting the Wuhan coronavirus from parcels or their contents”.

It claimed that its logistics staff is undergoing daily temperature checks and through a stringent sanitisation process before handling packages.

“We take the safety of our staff and consumers very seriously and are monitoring the situation, to ensure that Lazada is a safe platform for all, ” it said.

The Star also reached out to Pos Malaysia Bhd but it declined to comment.

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