Rumor Buster: No evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 by imported goods-Xinhua

Rumor Buster: No evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 by imported goods

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2020-03-02 13:35:02

BEIJING, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. health officials have said there is no evidence to support the claim that packages from the COVID-19 embattled China transmit the novel coronavirus.

On its website, the WHO gives a "Yes" to the question -- "Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 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, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low," the global health watchdog added.

Coronaviruses are generally spread most often by respiratory droplets from the nose or mouth of a person with COVID-19 when he coughs or exhales. Other people can catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from an infected person or by touching the objects or surfaces contaminated by the infectious droplets and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

As for the concern that the virus may stay on the surface of the packages, the WHO noted that, based on previous studies about the coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS, the virus can live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days, depending on different conditions. However, it is easy to kill the virus with disinfectants, if you think a surface may be infected.

"In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses 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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on its coronavirus FAQ site.

Currently, there is no evidence to support COVID-19 transmission associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods, according to the CDC.

"The temperature of the air surrounding the packages and projects during shipping is not considered conducive to viral viability," said Amesh A. Adalja, a senior scholar with Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, to online publication Tom's Hardware.

Last but not least, people who extremely worry about the safety of international delivery should know that the coronaviruses, according to a report published on the Journal of Hospital Infection, are sensitive to disinfectants containing alcohol, sodium hydroxide, and sodium hypochlorite, and spending a minute or two to clean a surface can remove the viruses.