Coronavirus update

The Postal Service is sharing updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the novel coronavirus outbreak that recently began in Wuhan, China.

According to CDC, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus and to follow these recommendations to help prevent the spread of any respiratory viruses, including the coronavirus:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Stay home when you’re sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if the hands are visibly dirty.

• If you’re well, follow CDC’s recommendations and don’t wear face masks to protect yourself from respiratory viruses, including the novel coronavirus.

Additionally, CDC has reported there is very low risk that the coronavirus can be spread from products or packaging shipped from China, due to poor survivability of this type of virus on surfaces.

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets, CDC reports.

Also, according to CDC, there is no evidence to support transmission of the novel coronavirus associated with imported goods, and there have been no reported cases of the virus in the United States associated with imported goods.

The Postal Service is providing this information to employees through stand-up talks, newsletter articles, messages on bulletin boards, and updates on Informed Facility and Postal Vision monitors inside USPS workplaces.

CDC’s website has additional information.

Strictly business

The Postal Service is reminding employees not to perform work for an outside employer or for a side business while on duty.

Doing so violates the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, which applies to postal employees.

USPS employees also cannot use postal equipment to perform outside work.

“Our customers expect us to use postal time and property for postal business,” said Natalie Bonanno, the USPS acting associate general counsel. “Maintaining the public’s trust is absolutely essential to driving positive business results.”

For further guidance, send an email to the USPS Ethics Office at ethics.help@usps.gov.