/ Health

Are your deliveries, parcels and post safe?

We all want to limit our potential exposure to COVID-19 as much as possible, but do we really need to be disinfecting our deliveries and post?

The question of disinfecting deliveries has understandably come up a number of times this past month.

To get the facts and advice on how to handle deliveries as safely as possible, I spoke with Public Health England and Royal Mail.

Read all the latest COVID-19 news and advice on our dedicated hub

Here’s what the risk is, what you should do if you’re receiving a delivery and what additional measures have been put in place.

How do contactless deliveries work?

All couriers are limiting contact with customers during the outbreak. This means you’ll no longer be asked to sign for parcels. 

Most courier services ask that you agree a safe place with them in advance. If there’s no safe place available, most couriers will follow these steps:

📦 The driver will leave the parcel on your doorstep

📦 They will then knock on your door and retreat two metres away.

📦 The driver will wait for you to retrieve the parcel and ask for your name as proof of delivery

If the courier hasn’t followed these steps you can ask them to do so through the door before opening. 

Some couriers, such as DPD and Hermes, might also take a photo of the parcel (not of the recipient) as evidence of delivery.

What does Public Health England recommend?

First and foremost, Public Health England (PHE) says it’s best for people to practise good hand hygiene.

That means you need to regularly wash your hands with soap and water.

If soap or water isn’t available and your hands are visibly clean then sanitizer gel can be used – but proper hand washing is the most effective method and this should be your first choice as soon as you’ve handled anything from outside your home – including parcels, post or other deliveries.

Is there a risk of catching coronavirus from a delivery?

PHE told us that while not a lot is known about COVID-19, it is likely to behave in a similar way to other coronaviruses.

How long any respiratory virus survives will depend on a number of factors, such as the surface the virus is on, whether it’s exposed to sunlight, different temperatures/humidity and exposure to cleaning products.

In most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 24 hours, and even more so after a further 48 hours.

Because COVID-19 is a new illness, PHE says it isn’t yet known exactly how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses are mainly spread by cough and sneeze droplets, and ‘indirect contact with infected respiratory secretions’.

PHE said that appropriate infection and prevention control measures are being implemented to reduce the risk to the public.

You can read PHE’s guidance in full here

We reached out to the biggest delivery firm in the UK – Royal Mail – to find out more.

What’s Royal Mail doing to reduce the risk?

Royal mail told us that it’s committed to keeping the mail moving – delivering letters and parcels across the UK, including to those who find it difficult to leave their homes.

Royal Mail has committed around £15 million on buying equipment such as hand sanitiser, gloves and other additional protective measures designed to keep its people safe and the vast majority of mail can be posted safely through the letterbox without any interaction needed at all.

It has implemented a raft of changes designed to implement social distancing measures, including a new rule that means there can only be one person in a Royal Mail delivery vehicle at any one time.

You can expect your Royal Mail deliveries to work like this:

If you’re self isolating: If the item does not require a signature, it is asking you to safely advise your postie that you’re self-isolating (for example, talking through the door). They should then place the item at the door and step aside to a safe distance while you retrieve it.

Signing for items: Your postie will not hand over a hand-held device to you to capture a signature but instead log they will the name of the person accepting the item.  

Receiving a large delivery: If your delivery won’t fit through your letterbox, it will be left at your door. Having knocked on your door, you postie will then step back to a safe distance while you retrieve your item. This will ensure your item is delivered securely rather than being left outside. 

Care home deliveries: To keep the mail moving but prevent the spread of Coronavirus, Royal Mail has made arrangements to deliver to a central point, such as reception, instead of individual addresses within care homes.

Along with these measures, Royal Mail has been promoting regular hand washing with soap and water, enhanced disinfectant cleaning of its communal areas on a daily basis, as well as providing latex gloves to any staff who request them.

Are you worried about potentially being exposed to illness by your post or deliveries?
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How have you been approaching deliveries at home? Are you being extra cautious or carrying on as before? Let us know in the comments.

Comments

I open mail outside and put the envelopes straight in the recycling bin. Most of the mail goes in a pile in the utility room for sorting at a later date, when any virus will hopefully no longer be active. Anything I want to study – like the credit card statements that have just arrived – is spread out on the windowsill of a sunny south-facing bay window for a day or two. Then I wash my hands as advised.

The postman and couriers have generally been very careful, though one rang the doorbell and handed over a package, which I took at arms length.

I think it is the ultra violet light in sunlight that kills bugs but ultra violet does not
pass through glass.

You are quite right, Marshman, but leaving the mail on a sunny windowsill will promote desiccation and consequent loss of viability.

We had one delivery early in the pandemic when a delivery driver coughed at my husband when he wanted a signature and we had a worrying couple of weeks. Since then no signatures have been required and every delivery company and driver has been brilliant except one DPD.

Every driver has been happy to leave parcels on the doorstep and take a photo of it and even us in the windows accompanied by friendly waves and smiles – all except one DPD

If the driver was a carrier of the virus, knocking on the door and retreating two metres is not going to protect you from catching it. The virus will stay in the air long enough to be drawn into the house when the door is opened possibly infecting and killing the occupants.

I have contacted DPD on 2 occasions now with very disappointing replies so I now contact sellers to make sure they don’t use DPD who put our lives at risk.

I am posting my experience in the hope DPD will rethink how they deliver to vulnerable people and alternative ways of getting proof of delivery that doesn’t include opening doors.

1st complaint to DPD

Hello,

I have just had a very scary delivery.

My husband and I both have high risk health conditions so are avoiding contact with other people.

The driver who visits us regularly can see us in the house so I indicated to leave the parcel at the front door. He insisted I open the door and if I didn’t was going to take the parcel away with him. Other delivery drivers have been happy to photograph parcels left on the doormat and have taken photos of me in the window.

Please do something so customers do NOT have to open their doors to receive parcels.
With regards,

DPD phoned me and I thought the problem was solved.

2nd complaint to DPD

Hi,

I have just had the same experience with the same driver. He refused to leave the parcel unless we opened the door.

Yesterday, I phoned the seller who said the rules were made by DPD, so I phoned DPD and arranged that we did not have to open the door and the driver could take our photo in the window.

Right now I am shaking, I am so angry and worried.

Both my husband and myself are in no doubt that if we got the virus we would be in serious trouble.

Your driver could be a carrier of the virus and opening doors and windows pulls in air from the outside that could carry the virus with it. My husband had to open the window to shout at the driver when he started walking away with the parcel. He was far too close for comfort.

I am asthmatic, I know the virus could kill me so have lived in isolation for the last few weeks. So far the virus has killed over 7000 people in the UK and I don’t want to be another one and DPD should not be putting people at risk.

***** called me following my previous email and I thought we had a fruitful discussion that would mean this delivery attitude would stop, but obviously not unless the driver is doing his own thing.

Please stop drivers wanting doors opened before they will leave parcels.
With regards,

DPD Reply

Hi ***

I have been forwarded your email from *** to investigate this matter on her behalf. Firstly, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is *** and I work on the Executive Team of DPD, which act on behalf of our directors.

After reading your email ***, I can certainly understand your upset with how your delivery was carried out this morning, especially with the current situation. Therefore, I just wanted to explain a little more about how we have changed our deliveries to make them contactless and hopefully put your mind at ease.

In-line with Government guidelines, our delivery process focuses on social distancing amidst fears of spreading Covid-19 with human contact. As it stands the driver must attempt as normal, by knocking or ringing the bell, but ask the receiver to step back so he can safely place the parcel on the open doorway and take a picture in place of a signature. He will then leave. This prevents you having to directly take anything from him or touch his hand-held delivery device.

We did have another process previously where the photo was not taken and instead the driver would knock, wait for acknowledgement and then leave it on the doorstep or porch, but despite GPS supporting our drivers, we had a lot of people disputing the deliveries so we had to change it.

I would like to assure you that we are very conscious of our responsibilities and would never intentionally put anyone at risk, our drivers have been fully trained on what is expected. However any feedback we receive from you, our consumers, is considered valuable and is fed back to the Senior Management level, to allow us to stay one step ahead of this ever changing situation.

I do understand your concern though ….. and we do not wish to cause any further upset. So moving forward there are alternative options you can consider for your deliveries. You can download our MyDPD App if you’ve not done so already. The App will allow you to select delivery options, such as leaving your parcel safe on your property. Provided the sender allows this, the driver will automatically be prompted to do this on every visit.

This can also be added via our online tracking or delivery notifications, on individual deliveries. This will allow you to avoid contact altogether, which may help you feel more comfortable, for the foreseeable.

I trust that we can work together to ensure you still receive your deliveries, without putting yourself at risk during this difficult time.

Kind regards,

My reply

Dear ***,

Thank you for your reply, but it gives me absolutely no sense of safety for our lives.

This may sound over the top, but someone carrying the virus could kill us, as both I and my husband have high risk conditions. Over 5000 more people have died since I wrote this email so DPD need to start taking their deliveries seriously and stop putting people at risk.

The virus is airborne and can stay in the air for up to 3 hours. Standing back 2 metres is no protection when a door is opened creating an inward draught that could carry the virus into our home.

Every other delivery company driver gives us a friendly wave and takes photos of the parcel outside the door but not your driver. I wish I had filmed his last visit then you might see how unreasonable he was, and how frightening it was for us.

I did everything I possibly could to ensure the last parcel was left outside the door. I called the sender who said it was DPD who made the rules. I called DPD and arranged for the parcel to be left outside. Whether the person I phoned lied about setting it up or whether the driver took no notice of the instructions I don’t know. Whatever, it didn’t work. An app would have been no good as the delivery notice said it couldn’t be changed. Anyway, not everyone has a phone capable of downloading apps.

Right now, I never want DPD to deliver to me again.

It is particularly worrying as I have another item that has been on order for a several weeks that could soon be given to you for delivery.

Please, please, please, stop drivers wanting doors opened before they will leave parcels.
Please, please, please, stop putting people’s lives at risk.

Regards a very scared

DPD Reply

Hi ***,

I do understand your concern, as this is a frightening time for all.

Whilst I know it may not seem it, we are working and following strict guidelines set by the Government to continue delivering to all, and ensuring that everyone is receiving there items safely.

As I hope you can understand we are unable to just leave items outside a property, without gathering evidence of the delivery, as not everyone is as honest as yourself in claiming receipt.

Sadly the app may not have benefited yourself on this particular delivery, however, moving forward downloading this will enable you to give specific instructions on any future orders, and request to leave safe can be followed by the driver.

I do trust that with doing so will ensure your deliveries are left as requested, and puts your mind at ease.

Kind regards,
***
Executive Team

Alfa – If Hermes and others can operate satisfactorily I am amazed at DPD’s attitude. I thought they were one of the best carriers. I think they are making a bit of a performance out of it claiming their practice is necessary to comply with government guidance; no such guidance has been issued so far as I am aware. It is also possible that they are seeking to defend the indefensible misconduct of their driver

If one of us opens the door when the bell rings the box is usually on the step and the driver is back at the van. Our regular DPD driver does the same as the other companies’ staff.

If we don’t answer the doorbell [perhaps we are in the garden or in the bathroom], the Hermes driver leaves the parcel in a sensible place of his choosing [because we don’t have a secure place at the front of the property] and takes a photo of it which is then sent within the delivery confirmation e-mail. Other companies put a slip through the letterbox explaining where the parcel has been left.

The Royal Mail posties just ring the bell and leave the item on the step – no card, no photos, no e-mail – just practical service. Are DPD saying that is not compliant with government instructions?

I would like to see a requirement for retailers to specify which carrier they will use, so that we have the opportunity of avoiding deliveries by carriers that have let us down.

I am minimising what I am ordering online for the time being, reducing the risk of poor practice.

I don’t understand their attitude either John. I haven’t been able to find the government guidance they keep referring to.

I agree with the requirement for retailers to specify which carrier they will use. Drivers tend to become regular to areas so we should be able to choose an alternative if we get a bad one.

Although we are minimising online purchases, I have managed to get 2 sellers to agree not to use DPD including Amazon who were surprisingly very helpful.

I believe the only relevant requirement is within the Health & Safety at Work etc Act, and Regulations made under it, for a risk assessment to be carried out [and reviewed in a timely manner] for each operating practice. This obviously requires delivery companies to consider and adapt any working practices in the light of any changes in circumstances [and this change is a biggie so it needs very serious consideration].

The underlying principle of the Health & Safety at Work Act is that any risk to health and safety should be made as low as reasonably practicable. It could be argued in Alfa’s example that DPD’s operating procedure – if indeed it is mandated by the company – does not achieve that and exposes the recipient to an additional hazard [as Alfa has described]. Given that Alfa has actually instructed the company not to do that it is perverse that DPD does not appear willing to review its working practice.

I certainly agree that the name of the carrier should be declard at the point of ordering, but some companies use a multitude of carriers and do not know which one will be used before the day of dispatch. I am fairly sure that John Lewis only use DPD [except for large items which they deliver themselves]. Amazon have set up their own delivery network and seems well-run – although I wish they would not deliver earlier than notified; they do stick to the correct day if you have paid for a nominated delivery day.

On the other hand, M&S unfortunately do not seem to understand that if we select and pay for a nominated delivery day there is a good reason for it and that premature delivery is inconvenient. I am not going to waste my energy reclaiming the surcharge because I am used to it now and make sure we are available the day before.

I did inform two companies that I would not order from them unless they stopped using their regular carrier. One of them wrote back saying they had decided to set up a new contract with a different carrier. In the second case the carrier concerned [Hermes] has raised their game considerably and is now one of the better ones in my experience. We have had some Yodel deliveries lately and they seem to have got their act together to provide a better service as well.

In my opinion, DPD is still the best for their tracking and ETA function, UPS and DHL are good but not so informative, Hermes is good for both pre- and post-delivery information, and Parcelforce are reliable because they always serve our area in the same time slot. Amazon Network have far too wide a delivery bandwidth for my liking and the remainder are adequate but with plenty of room for improvement in tracking, predicting the delivery window and for where they leave the parcel if there is no answer. None of the delivery companies [apart from Royal Mail] appear willing to return the consignment to their depot unless they can possibly avoid it.

Unfortunately I have had to order more on-line during the present emergency because the shops that sell what I needed have been closed or I have not wished to make a special trip into the city.

It’s very much at odds with our own experience of DPD. The local driver knows us well, but even so is quite content to leave the item outside then call us when he’s left the property to let us know. I suspect you may have a driver who’s been in trouble in the past, and is thus following everything to the letter of the rules, trusting it will backfire on the management.

Now you’ve raised it so openly, they will know your driver and you may not see him again.

If this DPD page of common delivery questions is anything to go by, we are not the only ones who are worried.

Q: I’m self-isolating and expecting a DPD delivery, what should I do?
A: Simply leave a signed note, attached to your front door, instructing our driver where your parcel should be left. He will take a photo of the signed note, along with a photo of where he has left your parcel as proof of delivery.

Q: Why does your driver insist on me opening my door? I don’t want to open my door during quarantine.
A: Your dpd driver is required to take a photo of the parcel at the point of delivery as a proof of delivery. The parcel sender is expecting a signature as proof of delivery, instead of a signature, our driver takes a photo of the parcel in the doorway to prove it was handed over. You do not need to be in the photo, so feel free to step back while the driver takes the photo.

Q: Your driver refused to give me my parcel because I wouldnt open my door. Why?
A: Your driver is required to hand over the parcel at the point of delivery, unless we have your permission to leave the parcel somewhere safe. The parcel sender is expecting a signature as proof of delivery, instead of a signature, our driver takes a photo of the parcel in the doorway to prove it was handed over. If you dont want to open the door, you can ensure you still have your parcel delivered by posting a note to your front door instructing our driver where your parcel should be left.

Q: Isn’t it a bit dangerous to insist on opening the door, it will increase my risk of exposure to COVID-19?
A: Our drivers have all been trained to remain 2 metres apart from the doorstep. Here is an explanation of what we are doing to keep everyone safe with our contact free delivery.
Contactless Delivery:
1. The driver places the parcel at the entrance of the customer’s home and rings the doorbell or knocks.
2. The driver steps away, keeping a safe distance.
3. The customer opens the door and the driver takes a photo of the parcel as proof of delivery without a signature.
Contactless Delivery – Self Isolating:
1. If you are self isolating and do not wish to open your door you can now leave a note on your front door telling the driver where to leave the parcel.
2. The driver will then leave your parcel in the requested place.
3. The driver will take a photo of the location the parcel was left as well as the note on your door giving him authority to do this.

https://www.dpd.co.uk/content/how-can-we-help/parcel-delivery-during-covid-19.jsp

They somewhat contradict themselves as this does not work for more valuable items. In the doorway is in the doorway not outside the door. The driver won’t leave the parcel until the door is open then he pushes it into the opening before taking the photo.

When I contacted a seller, they told me it was DPD who made the delivery rules. If they decide the item cannot be left in a safe place, they put customers through this dangerous rigmarole.

That last may not be entirely true. DPD contract to deliver the item, but if the recipient claims it wasn’t delivered than DPD would be pursued for the cost by the contractor. But as John says, it works for other deliverers, so why your particular driver is playing silly beggars it’s hard to know.

Asda are the best. They simply wave at you through the window, pile it all up on the doorstep; and then leave, so after a suitable interval you collect all the bags.

Our postman and couriers are leaving parcels on the doorstep, ringing the door bell and waiting to see that we have opened the door to pick them up before they leave, all carried out at a safe distance.
We open the mail and parcels, put the cardboard/paper in the recycling, file papers, wash any clothing items then wash our hands before touching anything else.

I use either Nitrile or Vinyl disposable gloves that I dispose of once I have finished handling the items that I receive.

Cathy Ball says:
27 April 2020

Saw an Argos delivery van drive up. Nxt door was at her gate and took the parcels from him, no distancing at all. Yet on 2nd April she was “bragging” she and 2 kids had the virus. Last week she was broadcasting on Facebook that one kid had chicken pox, the other had shingles! She is a compulsive liar. My sister in law has had the virus for a month, said she has never felt so bad, nephew has been bad 3 weeks, still very ill, brother in law contracted it in hospital, been in over a month, been on oxygen. Yet she was standing outside with friends smoking and they visit regularly. I still think Argos man was in the wrong however.

Reginald VERNON says:
27 April 2020

We carry mail into the kitchen, dispose of outers and wash our hand. Parcels are dealt with similarly. Objects that may have been handled manually are wiped with a soap solution. Kitchen worktops are wiped down with soap solution if they have been in contact with packaging, envelopes etc.
We receive a newspaper delivery daily and are mildly concerned about the possibility that infection could come by that route. We are able to read the paper online and may choose to do so

Or you could iron it with a hot iron before reading it.

I initially made a cardboard tray that the newspaper fitted into when opened out. But then cancelled the papers so it was one thing less to worry about.

Our porch has inner and outer doors. We wear gloves to bring deliveries into the porch. The parcels are left in sunlight.
Are there guidelines for how long we should wait before bringing in the parcels into the “inner sanctum”? We are assuming three days.
Should we be wary of the content of the parcels? A hard question to answer.

Three days is a good length of time and that is how long I leave non-fresh and non-frozen Grocery items I receive.

I (over 60) and my wife (over 70) have had been very ill for two weeks followed by another three weeks regaining strength, have been in full isolation for four weeks. We did not socialise, visited crowdy places or invited people into our home for at least couple of weeks prior to becoming ill, I am still puzzled how we (I) got infected despite having very little contact with outside world. Even after this very harrowing experience, I do not want to become obsessed with all these precautions like handling post, yet I still follow the official guidelines for good hand hygiene (because touching mouth, nose and eyes is almost an uncontrolable impulse done unconciously probably dozens of times a day and carries the greatest risk of infection induced by ourselves) alongside social distancing, for instance when shopping. Although I can understand concerns of many vulnerable people, I am of opinion that putting an additional burden on our minds by thinking that the virus is hiding everywhere to kill us may do more harm to our mental health than there are the real chances of catching the virus through piece of paper thrown through the letter box. Besides, keeping any potentially infected material in the porch in the sunlight does no good as the UV rays from the sunlight (which destroy the virus like patogens) are filtered out by any glass in the windows and doors and chances are that even without the UV rays present in the compartment after 48 or 72 hrs the patogens would become inactive in a dry environment like an envelope. I am just trying to use common sense combined with elementary knowledge about a probability of various objects becoming contaminated and passing this contamination to humans by handling these objects, should this be the case indeed, soon we would have no post (and other) deliveries at all as all Post Office workforce would become infected and incapacitated quite rapidly by handling millions of letters every day. Let’s the common sense prevail to keep us all sane in these strange times. This is my stance on this matter and respectfully of others experiences I do not wish to upset anyone by my views.

Lesley says:
1 May 2020

I leave post and deliveries for 24 hours then open wearing gloves and tip out contents, then dispose of wrappings still wearing gloves. If wrapper is plastic I leave for a few days and then spray with antibac spray before opening. Not sure if the idea that the virus lasts longer on shiny surfaces is true but taking no chances

It’s worth remembering that mail such as credit card and bank statements, and most letters from big organizations, will be printed and mailed automatically by a machine. So whilst the envelope has a tiny risk of being infected by someone who’s handled it during its journey to the recipient, the innards have not.

I fully agree with Darius’s wise comments. There is very little evidence that dry paper objects (even if sneezed on by an infected person) are likely to infect anyone else after a day or two. Use common sense, sure. But don’t be obsessive. There are far greater risks out there, including ones that were risky last year and will be risky next year.

I have found all delivery drivers and our Royal Mail postman have been very aware and good in approaching deliveries in the recommended way. However, sometimes items have been left and the door bell rung and by the time I get to the door. They are already in their van and ready to go. Being 43 and in good mobility health, getting to the door is quick, so not sure some customers with mobility issues will get on!

I really haven’t considered this miniscule risk at all and I think that some people are being ridiculous. When everyone gets out of their houses and into ‘normal’ life, will they now be afraid to cross any road they see? Seeing the peculiar behaviour of the delivery people, I also had a bit of fun and decided to try to catch one unawares, so that he passed a package straight to me as I popped out of the door, which I managed this week! There are normal, sensible precautions which are common sense, but can we all just be a bit realistic, perhaps?

Damian O'Neill says:
1 May 2020

Yeah, that’s a “fun” ting to do. What a plank.

Rcihard Miller says:
1 May 2020

Mark is right. Look up the WHO advice on this issue. Viruses are not transmitted in the mail.
https://www.republicworld.com/lifestyle/health/can-the-coronavirus-live-on-paper.html

Ha ha, what a f f f fun guy you are.

So your idea of “a bit realistic”, is jeopardising somebody else’s health/life. What you regard as a “miniscule risk”, could have fatal consequences for other people. Your foolhardiness is certainly nothing to brag about.
Many of us with certain health conditions are terrified of Covid-19. At any time we may be just a few weeks away from a horrible lonely death. And, to think that our future could be in the hands of someone with such limited thought processes as yourself, makes life even scarier. Keep your distance!!

In polite reply, and for the avoidance of doubt, I did not make contact with the deliverer himself or rush towards him and breathe all over him. Neither have I done so with anyone else who wishes to keep away from contact. The amusing bit, to me, is the rather odd charade people seem to be going through, rather than just using common sense in avoiding close contact. I have actually had one delivery placed near my feet, for me to pick up!

One major problem is that we know worryingly little about the disease transmission. We don’t know the viral infective load, we don’t know the latency, we don’t know for certain the structure of the RNA, so until we do is it surprising that people are being extremely wary, especially as there’s no agreed definition of ‘common sense’?

I wonder if there have been any cases in people living in self-isolation but receiving mail and deliveries of food. It would not be difficult to carry out a study. In the meantime, it makes sense to take precautions.

Mark, COVID-19 is not called the silent killer for nothing and there is nothing ridiculous about wanting to survive it. We are taking the sort of precautions that were unimaginable a few months ago, but I would rather go over the top and live than end up in hospital or add to the death toll. As Peter said those of us with underlying health conditions are terrified of this virus and doing everything we can to avoid getting it.

Carriers of the virus might not know they are carriers so what you did with the delivery person was extremely thoughtless putting both of you at risk. It has been suggested that keeping 2 metres apart is not enough and the rate at which this has spread to all corners of the world almost confirms it. Also any breeze in the air will carry a person’s breath further than normal. Couriers will be coming into contact with other people very often by accident as they go about their rounds. You don’t give the impression you are taking sufficient precautions so either of you could have infected the other.

Richard: Mark is not right. The WHO advice says this:

“Can you get the Coronavirus from mail?

According to WHO, the virus is unlikely to persist on a surface after it is moved, travelled and exposed to different weather conditions.” ‘Unlikely’ is not an absolute. It only means it may not persist, not cannot persist.

Kevin says:
1 May 2020

Mark may be a bit juvenile and discourteous, but what he actually said was:
“I really haven’t considered this MINISCULE RISK”
and
“There are normal, sensible precautions which are common sense”

Sounds to me exactly what WHO said, the issue is what ‘sensible’ is. This will vary according to individual attitude to risk and the cost of infection controls.

Peter Dodds says:
1 May 2020

We wipe all our post/deliveries over with a cloth soaked in a 5% bleach solution. We do the same with shopping deliveries before putting them away. All deliveries are left in the front porch or just outside the porch doors or in the garage. Haven’t had any problems so far from couriers and am shocked by the DPD attitude which I do feel is non PC and seriously bad for their customer relations. They have got it wrong!

Steve Morley says:
1 May 2020

All post and newspapers + contact surfaces handled with gloves before ironing with a hot iron on cotton setting. Bag handles , etc., treated with an antiseptic wipe.

We have supermarket home deliveries due to health issues/age. When it arrives we wipe down each of the items with a disinfected cloth before putting them in cupboards. It’s an absolute pain, a real chore. As all deliveries are again in plastic carriers (often just 2 items to a bag?!**), we then spray them inside and out with dettol spray so that we can reuse the bags to prevent plastic waste. The day is fast approaching when we’ll get fed up with this, bin all the bags, then just wash our hands thoroughly. With post, one of us opens the envelope/packaging, the other removes the (hopefully) sterile contents, the packaging is recycled and the opener washes his/her hands. We’re exhausted by the end of it all!

Rcihard Miller says:
1 May 2020

You are more likely to poison yourself than do any good

I suggest that soap and water is a better alternative to chemical disinfectants for washing bags and cleaning worktops. For anything that has been in contact with raw meat, use a little bleach on a damp cloth.

Dhammagita says:
1 May 2020

I open mail with gloves on, using a sharp knife as a letter-opener & shaking the envelope so the contents fall out onto a clean surface. Same with parcels, tipping out or easing out rather than shaking, depending what’s in it. I check the posted date & if it’s under 3 days before I leave the item & any internal packaging in a separate place until the 3 days have passed. In the rare event it’s something I need urgently, I wipe it over with alcohol-based gel instead. Sometimes if I know what something is I just leave the whole thing for 3 days before I open it. Either way all packaging goes into the rubbish or recycling at the time of opening, & I put a clean piece of newspaper on the top in case I forget later & push something down with bare hands. It’s fine once you get into the habit. Sometimes I just use a torn off bit of newspaper to hold small items with while I open them with the knife so I don’t have to bother with gloves.

Rather than fiddling around with bits of paper I’d suggest just getting in to the habit of washing your hands after doing anything to do with rubbish/waste etc. That’s just good practice, regardless of any pandemics!
Wearing gloves doesn’t help actually, and can under some circumstances increase risks. This is because gloves are just as capable as hands of transferring viruses (and bacteria) so they need washing as well as your hands, and since you can easily contaminate your hands as you take gloves off you should wash your hands then. So you might as well just use your bare hands and wash them after you’ve Finished your possibly risky activity.
I agree waiting a few days with items kept in a warm room makes sense if you can: the virus progressively falls apart regardless of any uv exposure (although uv would accelerate that process).

Everything that comes into the house goes into quarantine, normally for three days.
Newspapers have their outside page carefully removed, skim read and placed into quarantine. Inner pages are assumed safe and taken into use, I’m not sure whether or not to believe the statement that the ink kills the virus.
If it can be done safely, the contents of mail are extracted and taken into use once three days since latest external exposure is estimated to have occurred and envelope or wrapper carefully binned.
Milk bottles are washed with soap before being refrigerated. Other perishable food is refrigerated in quarantine though we guess that refrigeration tends to prolong the time for which the virus remains infectious.
After any interaction with a delivery hands are thoroughly washed.

Grant Robbins says:
1 May 2020

When receiving a large parcel even before covid19 I would wash my hands after handling it as it had been handled by many people and sitting in the back of a dirty van etc. Norovirus was and still is a thing and the main reason I never go near a finger buffet. The only thing I have changed is putting the packaging in the wheelie bin. As for envelopes, I open them check the contents & either put the correspondence in my in tray ( I have many around the house) or envelope & contents go either in to be shredded box or by the back door for the wheelie bin next time the dog & I pass it. The dog is the kicker and since we’ve had him i’vd never washed my hands so often anyway. In a nutshell, large parcels , open and bin packaging outside, wash your hands & proceed to enjoy contents as I did with the bolt extractor kit I received direct from China or Chaina if your Donald Trump. (I did put that in isolation in the shed for 14 days and washed my hands whilst singing happy birthday by name to everyone who knows me) PS I love DPD – in a different league to everyone else.

Nori says:
1 May 2020

Why did you sing Happy Birthday to everyone who knows you? Were their birthdays all on the same day?

Roz Kaufman says:
1 May 2020

All deliveries are left in the porch.To underline this there is a notice in the front door requesting that this is done. All letters are left for 24 hours and deliveries are wiped over with a disinfectant wipe ( if in a plastic covering) and if in a cardboard pack, the pack disposed of in the recycling and hands thoroughly washed.

John R says:
1 May 2020

I created a poster to sellotape inside the glass on my front door, this was when we were necessarily self-isolating prior to lock-down. It asks that the deliverer rings the door bell (stating it WILL be heard even if the deliverer can’t hear it, as often they don’t) and leaves the parcel on the doorstep. To date, there have been absolutely no problems with this. Often the courier will look back whilst leaving the driveway (say about 4m) to see if the door has been opened. I can see through the frosted glass where the deliverer is in relation to the door, open the door and call out thanks when he/she is judged to be far enough away. This applies to Royal Mail and other couriers. I open post and parcels, recyle as much as possible immediately to an external wheelie bin, wash my hands, sort the content, then wash my hands again afterwards, being careful NOT to touch my face in the meantime. Probably overkill but better to be safe than sorry! That said we are reducing on-line orders of all types at present, so much is just standard mail, which goes in the letter box but is dealt with as above. It is wonderful to have FAR less junk mail!