It seems a lot of armchair experts suddenly came out to give their wisdom on what can and cannot do and what we should do. That includes receiving mail and if it is safe to do so.
So here is the most authoritative source to refer to:
World Health Organization
World Health Organization is basically the doctor of doctors. An excellent Questions and Answers section can be found at: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
- Refer to Question and Answer number 19 extracted today, 29 March 2020:
Yes. 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.
2. Question and Answer number 18 extracted on the same day:
It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).
If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
References from other postal authorities on receiving mail:
Singapore Post: https://www.singpost.com/covid-19-updates/singpost-efforts-against-novel-coronavirus
Canada Post: https://www.canadapost.ca/cpc/en/our-company/news-and-media/corporate-news/news-release-detail.page?article=2020/03/15/public_update_covid_&cattype=announcements&cat=updates
If you have received mail in these period, you will notice whether it is a courier company or the postman, they have been wearing gloves and face masks. They also stand away when passing you the item. Thus the risk of transmission is even lower due to the additional protection and social distancing.
So if receiving mail with the additional safety precautions practiced by the delivery companies, would it not be safer than to touch the products in a Supermarket as so many other customers without gloves touched the cans and plastic packages?