I would like to comment on the temporary ban on posting letters abroad to 126 countries, due to the current coronavirus situation. This is extremely inconvenient for those who need to post letters abroad. I don’t believe it makes any difference in containing the virus: a recent study in the Lancet showed that COVID-19 can only live on paper for between a few minutes and four days. It takes five days or more for a letter to reach Europe, hence any virus on a letter would be dead before arrival, and hence this ban makes no sense.

It might make sense if the ban was consistent, but get this: The U.S., France and the U.K. are exempt from this ban, but my country Ireland is not. Ireland has the virus well under control, whereas in the U.K. and U.S. it is still rampant. This ban looks like a token gesture, with exceptions taken to avoid inconveniencing Japan’s largest trade partners. A selective token gesture, Japan Post, which inconveniences so many, but not the British or Americans.

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