Since the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia, online sales have increased tremendously. Many are now relying on home delivery services to get their supplies (oftentimes in carton boxes) during the MCO. As a result, there are concerns about the safety of the boxes and packaging used to deliver the products and if they can play a role in spreading the virus.
According to research conducted in New England, the coronavirus can remain stable on carton boxes for up to 24 hours. The actual time depends on air quality, temperature, area, and other factors affecting the virus. However, the good news is that according to health organizations, there is a very low risk of spreading COVID-19 through cardboard packaging.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has looked explicitly at the corrugated boxes being delivered from China to all over the world, including Malaysia. According to the CDC, the poor survival rate of the general coronaviruses makes it very difficult for the virus to be transmitted during the phases of manufacturing, packaging and delivery.
Keeping this in mind, the CDC has not issued any specific instructions to make the packaging safe. However, their general guidelines of avoiding close contact with people and washing hands frequently apply in this condition as well.
WHO has issued a statement in which they said that the chances of an infected person contaminating the carton boxes are low, and the likelihood of catching the coronavirus from a carton box that has been moved a lot and went through various conditions before being delivered is extremely low.
The main reason for the low virus transmission rate is that it takes a lot of time for the packages to be delivered from a warehouse to the houses, so it goes through different conditions.
How to make sure the packaging is safe?
Although there has been no case of the coronavirus due to transmission from the carton boxes, the Amazon spokesperson has told people to adopt suitable measures if they are worried about the possible transmission of COVID-19.
Such measures include sanitizing the boxes or putting them in a separate location for a few days. Many sellers and suppliers in Malaysia are using carton boxes, so if you are really suspicious of the fact that someone with the virus may have coughed or sneezed on your delivery box, you can just let it sit for a period of 24 hours to make sure it is free from the coronavirus before opening it.
Eatables can be put in the fridge directly after getting them. Do not put the perishables on any table or counter and wash your hands properly. It is better to remove any outer packaging quickly and throw it in the garbage bin without touching any other surface to make sure any possible virus is not transmitted. Any surface that is touched by the corrugated boxes should be washed as well.
People in the higher-risk group of the coronavirus pandemic should dispose of the outer packaging like the carton boxes outside of their house and be extra careful about virus transmission. They should wash their hands immediately after touching the packaging and make sure they do not touch their face during this time.
Another precaution is to just ask the delivery person to leave the delivery at the door of your house. It has been suggested by a few studies that COVID-19 has the ability to live up to 3 hours as an aerosol, so precautions should be taken against possible airborne transmission as well. You can pick it up after about 3 hours when the chances of accidental airborne COVID-19 transmission are reduced.
It should be remembered that all of the workers are keeping their lives at stake to make sure you get your parcels delivered to you in these unprecedented times. Hence, you should be kind to them, try to tip them, and ensure you are practising good hygiene yourself too to reduce the chances of virus transmission.
Recently, the New York Times reported that some delivery workers around the world are choosing to work despite being ill because they do not want to lose their jobs. However, the authorities have consistently emphasized the fact that people with any symptoms of the virus must stay home.
Therefore, delivery companies and e-commerce websites are advised to give full-paid leave to the potentially sick workers, so they do not end up infecting others. Postal workers are also at a very high risk of catching the virus, owing to the type of work they do.
Many companies in Malaysia have also taken the applaudable initiative of giving full paid leaves as soon as a worker starts to feel sick. Such steps are essential to contain the virus and maintain safety for everyone in the community. For more information on carton boxes, feel free to get in touch with us.