With nearly 2 billion people ordering packages online globally, the concern of coronavirus deepens as nearly a quarter of the world’s products are manufactured in China. The rapid spread of the virus in China raises fear among consumers as they are worried the virus may be lurking on surfaces of packages coming in from China.

It begs the question; can you get sick from your packages? NO. Well, almost certainly no according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is highly unlikely for the virus to exist for long on the outside without a host body. Due to the poor survivability of the coronaviruses on surfaces, we foresee extremely low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over days or weeks. Dr. Elizabeth McGraw, director of the Centre for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University says that “a cardboard box is not a good breeding ground for germs.”

As major companies affected by coronavirus take a stock dive down by 2.1%, big consumer brands and fashion houses are getting anxious about the impact it will have on their businesses. In this unpredictable period, what do we know so far?

While there is still a lot that is unknown about the newly emerged 2019 novel coronavirus, we know that Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Sharing similarities genetically from the previously emerged MERS and SARS, both are beta coronaviruses with origins that come from bats. Though it is unsure that this virus will behave in the same way as MERS and SARS, the information from both can be used to guide us on how to tackle this new virus.

Many are working to address the issue taking extra measures to ensure the safety of their employees as well as the customers. Multiple e-commerce warehouses are running health screenings for its personnel. Shopee disinfects its transit warehouse in China daily and monitors the health of its employees. Lazada states that their logistics staff undergoes daily temperature checks and a thorough sanitization process before handling packages. While Google has suspended operations at its offices in China and Taiwan.

The best way for all of us to remain safe is to merely take extra precaution and boost our immune system. Health experts recommend washing hands with water and soap and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or handkerchief. If you do not have a tissue or handkerchief close by, as an alternative, cough or sneeze into an elbow rather than your hands to prevent the spread of germs.

The most important thing is to remain calm and keep taking precautions. Remain united in this uncertain time and it will soon pass. So, don’t worry, and keep shopping online!