New Zealand Post will no longer accept mail bound for China due to carrier flights going into the country being cancelled over the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
As of yesterday, an advisory was issued for customers saying that letters, parcels and EMS (express mail service) items bound for China will not be accepted, although international express items can still be sent to specific locations in China.
"Partner airlines have suspended their flights to China," New Zealand Post wrote.
"New Zealand Post is therefore declaring a situation of force majeure and ceasing, with immediate effect, to accept letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items destined for China, until sufficient transport capacity becomes available."
New Zealand Post stressed that items entering New Zealand from China will still be processed here, and that the World Health Organisation has advised that coronaviruses do not survive for long on objects, so it is safe to receive items from China.
Nevertheless, China Post has implemented measures "to ensure the safety of mail processing and postal staff, including disinfection of postal offices, processing centres and transportation vehicles, and monitoring of postal staff’s physical health".
Additionally, mail sent from New Zealand which would transit through China could also be affected.
"Owing to the spread of the 2019-nCoV virus, a number of international airlines have suspended flights to mainland China, and some border ports in neighbouring countries are also temporarily closed.
"As a consequence, China Post will temporarily store affected transit mail (air and surface) and will transport it to the destination countries when these transport options are once again available.
"Delays should be expected in transport and delivery during this period."
The affected countries are the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
New Zealand Post said in the advisory that mail items from China appear to be being sterilised before they are sent.
"It is our understanding that these may have been sterilised within China (either by the sender, or by China Post) to prevent the spread of the virus locally where packets and parcels are handled more frequently by local delivery and logistics team members."