China will speed up the resumption of delivery services to aid the nation’s epidemic control and prevention efforts and make sure people can get deliveries of daily necessities amid the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak, a senior transport official said.
Wu Chungeng, director of the Ministry of Transport’s policy research office, told a news conference on Feb 22 that the country has given priority to the resumption of postal and express delivery services as many people staying at home during the epidemic are relying on such services for daily necessities.
China Post, SF Express and JD have almost resumed full operations, while other major courier companies have resumed 66.7 percent of work capacity, he said.
The country’s major courier firms began to resume services as early as Feb 7 after an extended Spring Festival holiday due to the outbreak, the State Post Bureau said.
Measures have been taken to facilitate the uninterrupted passage of delivery vehicles, which would allow them to bypass inspections, as well as toll fees.
The vehicles and drivers should be given priority to pass through after the drivers take a quick temperature check and the vehicles are disinfected, he said.
Wu also urged local governments to avoid one-size-fits-all measures that ban courier services regardless of local epidemic situations.
For low-risk regions, normal delivery services should be restored. In regions with moderate risks, couriers and postal workers should be allowed to enter residential communities after strengthened protection measures. In high-risk areas, measures should be provided to enable couriers to pick up and deliver items, Wu said.
Protective equipment, including masks and gloves, should be given to couriers in all areas as well as drivers and stevedores working in high-risk areas to ensure their safety, he added.
According to a notice issued by the State Post Bureau on Feb 21, the country aims to recover more than 60 percent of the courier sector’s normal delivery capacity by the end of this month.
Couriers collected 120 million parcels between Feb 7 and 18, with about 80 million delivered, the bureau said.
Supply of daily necessities has been stable in China, including Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, even though the epidemic has heavily impacted daily life and factory operations, Wang Bin, an official with the Ministry of Commerce, told the news conference.
More than 95 percent of chain supermarkets, 90 percent of large fast-food chains, 80 percent of chain convenience stores and 80 percent of large wholesale farm produce markets nationwide have opened to customers, Wang said.
Local authorities in Wuhan have ordered e-commerce, group buying and direct delivery services to provide daily necessities to residents kept indoors by the epidemic, he said.