Royal Mail has said people are still safe to continue sending and receiving mail during the coronavirus crisis.
It said COVID-19 cannot survive on the surfaces of letters and parcels, meaning people are safe to handle them providing they continue washing their hands regularly.
Royal Mail said in a statement: “Public health authorities have advised people receiving parcels are not at risk of contracting coronavirus. From experience with other coronaviruses, we know that these types of viruses don’t survive long on objects, such as letters or parcels.
“This complements the highly publicised guidance from public health authorities for people to wash their hands more often than usual using soap and hot water.”
Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice
The company is continuing to deliver mail to every part of the UK “as normal”, saying it “understands the important role we have to play in helping people to stay connected”.
However, it was facing growing discontent from the Communication Workers Union (CWU) on Thursday.
The union said members across the UK have expressed “major concerns and anxiety” about their safety.
It said: “If any CWU member does not feel safe at work through lack of social distancing or personal protective equipment, they should not work.
“We will support any individual member or office that takes this position.
“This is not a call for workers to take unofficial industrial action, but it is a clear statement on the grounds of health and safety that we will support our members.”
Royal Mail has insisted it has “introduced a range of new social distancing measures” such as one worker per delivery vehicle, not taking people’s signatures upon delivery of parcels and regularly disinfecting its offices.