Coronavirus: is there a risk of transmission with a package from China?

Coronavirus: is there a risk of transmission with a package from China?


In a climate of fear around the Wuhan coronavirus, the French ask themselves various questions. Thus, the SAMU regularly answers somewhat eccentric calls since the revelation of the first cases in France. One of the most frequently asked questions concerns the arrival of packages from China.

The virus sows fear
To stop the spread of the coronavirus, several Chinese cities have been quarantined. In Wuhan, the cradle of the epidemic, hospitals are being built in record time, while the number of infected and dying is increasing every day. The virus has affected fifteen countries, including France with three cases. In addition, the assessment as of February 27 was 107 deaths for 4,400 cases of infection.

In such a context, the French naturally ask themselves questions. Recently, France 3 regions followed the SAMU du Nord, answering hundreds of calls every day. However, the questions people ask are sometimes inconsistent. These relate in particular to parcels arriving from China and meals taken in an Asian restaurant. For Éric D’Ortenzio, epidemiologist at Inserm interviewed by Le Parisien, no transmission of a virus by the contents of a package has been recorded in the past.

Unnecessary calls
Patrick Goldstein, head of the emergency and SAMU service at Lille University Hospital, spoke on the calls. By the way, you should know that this service answers calls of which the number is between 150 to 200 per 24-hour period. The interested party did not hesitate to show his annoyance as to the nature of the calls:

“You don’t call the 15th if you’re waiting for an Amazon package from China. We don’t call 15 if we go to a Chinese restaurant. We do not call 15 if we were Gare du Nord or if we were in Lille Europe and we met people. And you don’t call the 15th if you’re a dental surgeon and you have Chinese patients who have not been to China in 10 years. “

In addition, Patrick Goldstein reminds that the only calls concerning the coronavirus must be an emergency. They must be people who have returned from China for less than 14 days and whose temperature is abnormal. In this case, it could indeed be a start of fever caused by the Wuhan coronavirus.

Fears deemed irrational
Faced with the ignorance of the virus and the hype surrounding its spread, some people give in to a kind of panic. In France, some worried people are storming pharmacies to buy protective masks. However, according to Patrick Goldstein there is no point in panicking. However, there are a few precautions you should take: wash your hands often, or not face someone who looks like you have a cold (or by having a cold yourself).

Some reactions are perhaps the fruit of images circulating on the current situation in Wuhan. This quarantined city of 11 million people looks like a ghost town. Authorities paralyzed transport, made it mandatory to wear a mask, and people emptied stores to stock up.