CORONAVIRUS has caused more than 2,000 cases worldwide according to recent figures, as it spills out of China and into the rest of the world. Could coronavirus be transmitted through items posted to the UK or other countries?
Coronavirus cases have exploded in January 2020, as the Chinese National Health Commission has now reported more than 7,000 cases in the country, with limited spread abroad. The virus has killed more than 100 people and threatens to spread further thanks to a mutation it acquired earlier this month.
Can coronavirus spread via packages?
Coronavirus can now spread from person-to-person as part of a mutation it acquired earlier this month. The disease has already ravaged China, having spread through thousands of people and shut down several cities in the country. According to experts, the disease requires people to breed and spread.
Some diseases such as the flu and SARs, a close relative of 2019-CoV, spread when people come into contact with surfaces on which germs are present. One concern during a pandemic or epidemic with a disease which can travel like this is mail, as some viruses can attach themselves to packages and spread on to recipients.
However, the Global News reports 2019-CoV has not yet shown this capability, and if it could, packages from China would pose a limited risk. Viruses have limited ability to survive outside of the human body and often perish in less than 24 hours. Very few diseases can survive for much longer, one such example being norovirus, which can last for weeks on hard surfaces.
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), 2019-CoV transmission comes from close contact, making it slower to progress than some other viruses. One concern with 2019-CoV, however, is that it can spread before symptoms appear. Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Chinese Health Minister Ma Xiaowei said it could pass between people during its 14-day incubation period.