With the outbreak of the Novel Corona Virus, the Secretary General of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) has published correspondence addressed to the African postal sector. The objective of this correspondence is not only to reassure postal service operators and their customers, but also to give operational guidance in order to instill confidence in the international postal systems to staff as well as customers.
Below is the content of the letter of the Secretary General.
“ Dear Sir/Madam,
With the outbreak of the Novel Corona Virus which was first reported on 31st December, 2019 in Wuhan China and further to the UPU EmIS 10/2020 and EmIS 26/2020 released on 7th February 2020 (See copy attached) on the same, I have the honour to urge you to seriously assimilate the contents of the message and provide the necessary guidance to staff under your control as well as customers on the scourge. This will enable your staff to acquire knowledge about the pandemic, avoid unnecessary panic, properly advise customers and protect themselves.
Therefore, I wish to summarize some operational issues contained in the message for you to take note of as follows:
- The coronavirus does not last long on objects. It is therefore possible to receive postal items without any risk of contracting the new coronavirus;
- All post offices, processing centers and transport vehicles in China are disinfected on a regular basis and medical checkups provided to postal workers;
- Written proof of delivery may not be provided to senders until the situation normalizes since mail may not be delivered to addressees in person. Therefore, there is need for an explanation to be provided to senders highlighting exceptional delivery circumstances currently prevailing in China that do not allow for written proof of delivery;
- Some airlines have suspended flights to mainland China. As a result, China Post will temporarily store affected airmail and surface transit mail and only provide transportation to destination countries once the affected transportation options are available. Delays should therefore be expected during this period in transportation and delivery of transit mail.
Further to the above operational facts, I wish to share with you in the Annex basic protective measures that you may take against contracting the coronavirus as per the World Health Organization.
In addition, I wish to encourage postal workers, especially those that are working in sorting centres, to wear protective clothing such as masks and gloves to help limit the spread of such diseases although according to the World Health Organization using a mask (and implicitly gloves) alone is not guaranteed to stop infections.
Therefore, to augment protection against this scourge, wearing masks and gloves should be combined with other preventive measures including hand and respiratory hygiene as well as avoiding close contact with people who appear to have symptoms of the disease.
Finally note that PAPU will be working closely with the UPU and other partners to expand the knowledge on this virus in order to constantly provide advice to Member States on measures to protect postal staff within the Union”.