Handling Packages and Parcels during a Pandemic: Is it Safe?

01 March 2020       Blog

International freight and shipping have come under tremendous pressure from the coronavirus pandemic, with many worrying about contracting the illness from parcels and mail. Not only that, but many are worried about strained supply chains and the subsequent short supply of certain goods and products from Australia and abroad. When it comes to health and hygiene, however, there are a few things to note about handling parcels and packages during this pandemic.

Government Statements

With so much information and disinformation being shared regarding COVID-19, it’s important to reference numerous sources including the Australian Government’s Department of Health to find reassurance regarding the transmission of the virus on packages and mail. Cargo and mail workers should be aware that an information sheet clearly states what precautions they should take when handling parcels and mail, such as following proper handwashing protocols, maintaining social distancing of at least 1.5 metres, and covering coughs and sneezes properly.

The Department of Health claims that the coronavirus currently does not live long enough on mail or parcels to pose any significant threat. Considering that freight and packages can take days or weeks to arrive (even months if coming from China) in Australia, the virus won’t have survived. In short, the government claims it’s safe to accept parcels and mail. 

Just to Be Extra Safe

Reinforcing the government’s claim that the coronavirus does not last long enough on mail and parcels to pose any significant threat, companies such as Australia Post note that the coronaviruses die within a few hours if they’ve come into contact with mail or parcels. Therefore, the packages themselves are safe to process and accept. Even still, opening packages with disposable gloves and safety equipment can help you rest assured if you’re in doubt.

What Dangers Exist for Packages and Parcels?

If indeed the coronavirus cannot survive on packages and parcels, the only remaining source of potential danger is from employees involved in the transport and delivery of the packages and parcels. As previously mentioned, the Australian Government has published information and companies have taken responsible action to ensure that employees are minimising risk wherever possible by performing the following practices:

  • Employees showing signs of a cold may have just that, a common cold. Nevertheless, they can contact their state or territorial public health agency and contact a doctor if they believe they’ve contracted the illness;
  • All employees must maintain proper handwashing protocols, including before and after meals and after using the toilet;
  • Coughs and sneezes should be done into the elbow rather than into the open air;
  • Maintain appropriate social distancing of at least 1.5 metres at all times.

Additional Risks to Consider

The coronavirus pandemic has caused sufficient panic to essentially shut down the world’s economy. Although the threat posed by the illness in large numbers is important to mitigate, lockdowns and quarantines around the world have also ground the world’s supply chains to a halt for many non-essential items. As such, even with a reliable freight company, delays and complications should be unfortunately accepted in these difficult times.

Freight People

The complexity of arranging intermodal transport during this global pandemic can be overwhelming and difficult for many companies and small business owners. Trust the reliable experts at Freight People to negotiate and arrange for optimal freight and shipping.