March 5, 2020 / 11:14 AM / a month ago

Thailand begins disinfecting packages sent from abroad, despite WHO's reassurance

BANGKOK, March 5 (Reuters) - Thailand’s postal services began disinfecting all packages received from overseas on Thursday to counter the spread of the coronavirus, although the World Health Organisation has said it is safe to receive post from badly affected countries, like China.

The Southeast Asian nation reported four new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, bringing its total to 47. One person in Thailand has died has from the disease, which first erupted in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

There have been no reports of the virus being contracted from packages posted from overseas, but the plan to disinfect them is one of the latest measures taken by authorities to halt the spread of the disease.

“Thailand’s post offices will disinfect every package arriving from overseas, at headquarters, including at Suvarnabhumi airport, Lak Si post offices, express mail service and delivery trucks,” Thailand Post Chief Executive Officer, Korkij Danchaivichit, told reporters.

In advice to the public posted on its website, the WHO said: “People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus. From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.”

The new cases in Thailand included an Italian male, a Chinese student and two Thai nationals who returned from China and Iran, Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, director-general of the Department of Disease Control said in a news conference on Thursday.

Reporting by Jiraporn Kuhakan and Artorn Pookasook, writing by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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