'Low risk' to catching coronavirus from international packages, says WHO and Canada Post
EDMONTON -- Canadians are being reassured the risk of contracting COVID-19 from mail that has travelled for days or weeks is very low.
"Coronaviruses generally do not survive on surfaces after being contaminated. The risk of spread from products shipped over a period of days or weeks at room temperature is very low," the Canadian Public Health Agency says.
It added there is no known risk of COVID-19 entering Canada via packages coming from affected regions in China.
The World Health Organization echoes this, though it said it is not known exactly how long the virus lives on surfaces.
"Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment)," WHO's information reads.
Nonetheless, Canada Post is closely monitoring the situation and has had its corporate pandemic plan implemented since late January, it told CTV News Edmonton.
"From a safety standpoint, we are encouraging employees to diligently follow the prevention recommendations from health authorities, such as proper hand cleaning," a spokesperson said.
"We have also prioritized the distribution of hand sanitizer and provided proper safety equipment, such as nitrile gloves, as a precautionary, where appropriate."
Canada Post said it will continue to take direction from the PHAC.
It did advise those in self isolation who are ordering deliveries should ask the packages are dropped off at a two-metre distance.
When asked about potential delays, Canada Post said other postal administrations may experience delays sending mail to Canada and that customers should track their packages online. Any COVID-19-related dealys would be posted to its Service Alerts page.