Over the past few months there’s been a marked decrease in ordering stuff from China, as people are afraid they might catch the coronavirus. However, with people in lockdown all over most of the world and stores closed, online shopping is in many cases the only alternative.

Unjustified fears

Studies have shown people do buy a lot online while in self-isolation, but most are reluctant when it comes to ordering products from China. Is this reluctance justified?

Definitely not. These lingering fears come from the early days of the current pandemic, when the problem was contained to the Wuhan area and everybody was shocked by the images coming from that city. That was two – three months ago. At present, the situation is completely different, there’s no need to be particularly worried about being infected by ordering some items from China when we have the coronavirus pretty much everywhere. There’s no greater risk when you receive a package from China than when you get a parcel from a local store or order a pizza. In fact, China is less of a danger at the moment. Why? Distance and the time it takes a parcel to travel from thousands of miles away.

The coronavirus doesn’t live long on a cardboard

Everybody is scared of the invisible killer, but keep in mind a virus needs a host to live. It infects people because it needs a human body where to thrive and multiply. Left to itself, on a piece of cardboard, the coronavirus can not survive for long.

The official word on the issue is that SARS-CoV-2 can resist for up to 24 hours on a regular shipping box. So, even if the parcel was contaminated at the point of origin, by the time it reaches its final destination the virus is long dead and cannot do anymore harm.

Here’s what the CDC has to say about handling parcels:

“Although the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, it is unlikely to be spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at regular temperatures.”

As for whatever items there might by in the box, the danger is even smaller as most products have been stored for weeks or months in some warehouse.

The most the virus can survive on a surface is up to five days, and this refers to glass and metal.

Imported goods are safe to handle

Also, bear in mind that the virus is spread mainly from person to person, generally by close contact with someone infected.

The virus can be spread by touching a contaminated surface, but again time is of the essence. If you touch a doorknob someone left some virus on only five minutes before, there is indeed the possibility of getting infected if you immediately touch your nose, mouth or eyes.

At present, there are no known cases of people getting the coronavirus while opening a shipping box. To quote again from the CDC:

“Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods.”

Finally, Chinese authorities say they are taking every precautions and they are disinfecting mail shipments.

To wrap it up, go ahead and order whatever it is that you want! It’s perfectly safe!