Fact-checking website, Full Fact, has investigated the claim that the new coronavirus can live on surfaces for up to 28 days, including on international mail. The verdict? There is no evidence to support this claim.
Advice from medical bodies including the National Health Service (NHS), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that catching coronavirus from parcels and letters is very unlikely, given transit times of days or weeks and the temperatures to which parcels would be subjected in transit.
Dr Todd Ellerin, an infectious diseases expert, has also noted: “Remember, this is a respiratory virus similar to the flu. We don’t stop receiving packages from China during their flu season. We should follow that same logic for this novel pathogen.”
Credit: Michael Longmire
Studies on human coronaviruses suggest that they can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces for up to nine days—but the longest-lasting of these survived in very cold and dry conditions (4 degrees Celsius and 20% humidity), which are unlikely to be sustained for parcels shipped around the world.
However, you can err on the side of caution simply by regularly washing your hands. Wash in soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol.
Source: Full Fact
For our latest service disruption alerts, please see our coronavirus page.