Can coronavirus spread through mail or packages?

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Got a brown box? Wondering if it’s safe to touch with the COVID-19 outbreak?

The US Postal Service says employees are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. According to the Surgeon General there is currently no evidence that the virus is being spread through the mail. 

“The Postal Service is an essential service for purposes of its compliance with state or municipality shelter-in-place orders or other social distancing restrictions,” says a spokesperson. “The Postal Service delivers medications, Social Security checks, and is the leading delivery service for on-line purchases.”

FedEx and other companies are turning to the World Health Organization which says it is safe to handle a package even if it comes from a place where the virus has been reported.

“The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low,” says WHO on its website.

FedEx says in a message to customers: “We are disinfecting our facilities and equipment as appropriate. And as always, we are encouraging our team members to take any signs of illness seriously and seek medical attention as needed.”

The CDC explains that because of “poor survivability” on surfaces, 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.”

The CDC points out that right now there is no evidence to support transmission of the virus associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.

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