With more than 1.2 billion people estimated to be in lockdown with the closure of schools and non-essential shops, COVID-19 – now a pandemic – has effectively shut down most of the world.
In the face of this global crisis, Posts have sought to keep on delivering the mail. As the spread of the virus weakened in some countries, it grew stronger in others. There were announcements of the resumption of mail services in some countries, although, as the virus spread, there were further statements of suspensions.
Throughout early and mid-March, countries faced the continued suspension of flights, an integral element of postal logistics. Other countries followed the World Health Organization guidelines and practiced “social distancing.”
Health and safety first
Many Posts are operating against the background of restrictions on the movement of people and the closure of international borders to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. The sole focus of Posts throughout this period has been on the health and safety of staff and customers. To achieve this, postal operators have informed the UPU of a number of changes to their operations in line with the guidelines of the World Health Organization and the medical advice of governments. Every Post emphasizes fundamental hygiene procedures to be followed, including handwashing, sneezing and coughing into the elbow, and social distancing.
Deutsche Post DHL announced that its goal was full-coverage of postal operations, while implementing recommendations to slow the spread of the pandemic. Similar decisions were made in Australia, the Netherlands and elsewhere to waive the requirement for a signature upon receipt of parcels and registered mail with personal delivery. The new approach curtails contact between customers and postal workers, and prevents the spread of the virus through handheld scanners and pens. A message from Australia Post read: “Delivery will be conducted via limited face-to-face methods and will be effective immediately.”
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