The Return From Italy During COVID19

Last Friday I went to the post office to collect some items that I was expecting from recent eBay purchases. When I got to the counter the attendant brought out an additional package and she said “I think this is a return“.

Puzzled I thought she must’ve been wrong and grabbed everything and left. I got back to the car and piled in, hand sanitised of course, and then inspected the return. Immediately my eyes were drawn to a sticker in a foreign language and my brain contorted in confusion. Where was this from?

My eyes then move further down to the details label and notated the country was Italy.

Italy was where this return had come from.

Immediately my heart was in my mouth and fear rushed to the forefront of my thoughts, can packages hold the virus? Have I possibly been exposed?

This package has been to one of the most heavily infected places on the planet right through the middle of the pandemic – so far.

I had so many questions.

Firstly why was this not collected? I immediately thought of death and my stomach turned. Then I thought that maybe simply due to the heavy lock down restrictions it just wasn’t possible to get to the post office to collect.

There had been no contact from the buyer asking where this was?

Secondly, why was it returned to me anyway? I almost always mark my packages through the Australia Post Business platform as abandon in case of non-delivery. This item had tracking on it but I didn’t request signature on delivery.

This is less clear because I have no idea how the Italian post office have managed their response to the virus outbreak during this time. Maybe they had so much mail they just shipped everything back to where it came from?

I drove home and left this outside for a couple of days including one day in full sun to capture some UV light. There is some evidence that UV light exposure does kill viruses however I’m not sure that the spectrum UVB or UVC (I can’t remember which one it is) actually exists in normal sunlight and in sufficient concentrations to kill the virus.

In any case I thought an extra couple of days cannot hurt and minimise any potential exposure risks and assist with my wife to even allow this into the house. Theres been previous reports of the virus existing on surfaces for sometime but I also thought that this package had probably spent its own time in quarantine when it first arrived back into Australia.

I hand sanitised the hell out of my hands several times as well as spraying the whole package with a cleaning solution just in case.

Originally this was sent on 23 December 2019 and now I was receiving this back over four months later. I was well outside of the eBay return window at all and even the records that eBay hold (usually 90 days) I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to find it to contact the buyer.

I tried to do some research and went back to my actual shipping history in the Australian Post Business website. I found the name of the person who ordered and attempted to do some Facebook reconnaissance to see if I could find anything that matched. Unfortunately, the results weren’t quite what I was hoping for.

Assuming the name that the parcel was addressed to its correct and the same person holds a Facebook account in the same name (which isn’t always the case to protect privacy) then there were only four people that matched the name.

One of which whom lived in London – wrong country.

Another did live in Italy and had recently posted on Facebook so was a possibility but then why haven’t they contacted me?

A third lived in Italy and was an older gentleman who was a professional photographer. Definitely in a higher risk segment of the population but also probably not a gamer?

And lastly when I saw the fourth my heart sank, a younger 30 something medical person who worked in the critical care unit at one of Italy’s hospitals.

My heart sank and I felt physically sick.

I procrastinated for a couple of days.

Finally the rains arrived here and forced me to retrieve the package from outside else risk it getting wet. I wrapped it up in a shopping bag, shoved it in a cupboard and I still haven’t reopened it yet.

I rechecked the shipping history again and noticed there was an email address when I dove into the detailed tracking. The tracking itself said it couldn’t be displayed due to technical issues.

I summoned up the courage to send an email knowing that if I didn’t receive a response I could probably assume the worst.

Whoever brought this, I really hope all is ok.

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