The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced on Monday that it will be "temporarily suspending the guarantee on priority mail express" destined for China and Hong Kong because of airline and air freight cancellations and other restrictions since the coronavirus outbreak.
"USPS will be temporarily suspending the guarantee on priority mail express international destined for China and Hong Kong, effective Monday, February 10," a service alert on USPS’ website read.
USPS says it is "experiencing significant difficulties" in sending letters and packages to China, Hong Kong, and Macau, due to the high number of airline and air freight carriers that have suspended flights to the region,according to the AP.
The Universal Postal Union (UPU) said the suspension of flights because of the deadly virus "is going to impact the delivery of mail for the foreseeable future."
"But it is hopefully temporary. The Universal Postal Union is carefully monitoring the operational situation, and is in constant contact with postal operators to ensure any backlog is cleared in the shortest possible time,” UPU said.
A new paper published this week in The Journal of Hospital Infection said coronavirus could live on surfaces such as glass, plastic, or metal for up to nine days, ratcheting up anxieties about shipping and other non-human traffic.
Disruptions in mail transits have already been reported in North Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam to China, meaning it's now a global disruption.
Wells Fargo dropped a note earlier this week that warned supply chain disruptions among US retailers are becoming a concern.
"That being said, our sources indicate that out-of stocks at retail for replenishment product could start within 60-to-90 days if disruptions continue beyond the next few weeks, with more significant inventory issues in seasonal product possibly by midsummer if disruptions stretch longer," wrote Edward Kelly, Wall Street Analyst at Wells Fargo.
China’s virus outbreak isn’t just disrupting the global flow of letters and packages, it’s also producing an economic shock that could tilt the world into recession.