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Risk of Corona Virus Transmission from Shipped Apparel

There is no significant risk that apparel shipped from China will infect those receiving the garments with COVID-19.  The virus’s lipid (membranous) envelope and the structures it contains degrade when outside of the human body especially on porous surfaces like textiles. In the related SARS and MERS epidemics there were no cases of infection from handling of textiles originating in a country with an ongoing epidemic.  While scientists disagree on the amount of time COVID-19 can remain viable on a surface outside of the host the time taken to ship is longer than the amount of time outside of a host organism that the virus can maintain viability.

From the Center for Disease Control in the United States we have:

Q: Am I at risk for novel coronavirus from a package or products shipping from China?

There is still a lot that is unknown about the newly emerged 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and how it spreads. Two other coronaviruses have emerged previously to cause severe illness in people (MERS and SARS). 2019-nCoV is more genetically related to SARS than MERS, but both are betacoronaviruses with their origins in bats. While we don’t know for sure that this virus will behave the same way as SARS and MERS, we can use the information from both of these earlier coronaviruses to guide us. In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of 2019-nCoV associated with imported goods, and there have not been any cases of 2019-nCoV in the United States associated with imported goods.

More info from the CDC