New Zealand Post stops sending parcels to China, tells customers to expect delays due to coronavirus

New Zealand Post has announced it can no longer send mail to China amid the coronavirus outbreak.

An update on the NZ Post website declares its partner airlines have suspended flights to China, meaning it will cease to accept letters, parcels or EMS tracked parcels to the country.

International Express post can still be sent to specific destinations "at this time", according to the website.

The company is still accepting post from China but it says its postal offices, trucks and processing centres are being disinfected regularly and all staff members are having their health monitored.

Any post which arrives from China will be delivered using "non-face-to-face methods" meaning recipients will need to pick up packages from temporary storage.

"Delays should be expected in the processing and delivery of inbound mail," reads the site. 

These delays should be expected until further notice.

NZ Post says despite the practices in place mail from China is safe to handle.

"Analysis shows coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.

It says recently packages have been arriving from China with a "sterilized" label on them.

"This may be to prevent the spread of the virus locally where packets and parcels are handled more frequently by local delivery and logistics team members."

However by the time these packages reach New Zealand they pose no risk. 

New Zealand First MP Shane Jones says the halt shows how challenging coronavirus is.

"It is a threat to our economy; it's an ill wind for an enterprise that is having to reinvent itself,"

He says the halt will last until the end of March, and then the company will re-evaluate what needs to be done.

It's not just post that could be hit by the economic struggle of coronavirus. In a press conference last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern outlined other industries which could be affected by the outbreak. 

Education, tourism, fishing and forestry could all feel the impact of the virus.

The coronavirus, now known as Covid-19, originated in the city of Wuhan in China's Hubei province late last year. 

It's thought the disease spread from animals to humans in a live food market. 

Since the virus broke out, it has spread to more than 25 countries, causing fever, coughing, respiratory distress and pneumonia. 

In severe cases, it can lead to organ failure and death.