New Delhi, April 17 A pizza delivery boy was found Covid-19 positive in the Capital. He delivered food to nearly 72 households. These homes have been quarantined and will be tested if and when residents report symptoms. His colleagues have been tested for COVID-19 and were found negative. But did or could anyone have ensured the homes he had delivered to didn’t already have any patients with symptoms of COVID-19 ?
Fear has gripped people who are mostly dependent on door-to-door delivery of food and essential items and fear has also gripped personnel who are delivering these items.
After the Indian government declared a complete lockdown in the country, barring deliveries of food and essential items, delivery partners across the country started practicing social distancing, contactless delivery, beside many other measures to ensure the safety of its delivery person and the customers.
Despite such precautions, the recent incident in Delhi’s Safdarjung Enclave, has caused panic among people who are mostly dependent on online delivery of food and essential items. It has raised the concern of students and working people who stay alone and have most of their meals and essentials delivered.
Delhi University student, Sonia Rathi, who lives in a rented room in Safdarjung Enclave, now a containment zone, said the incident has gripped her with fear. She states, “was mostly dependent on food deliveries and dining out. It was a relief for me when the lockdown was not applicable on food and grocery deliveries as I don’t cook. But after knowing that a delivery boy was found with coronavirus, I’m scared to order anything at home. I don’t know how I will survive the remaining days of lockdown.”
After this incident came to light, foodtech startup BOX8 with whom the delivery personnel was employed, has now shut down their Malviya Nagar Kitchen in South Delhi from where the food was ordered for the next 14 days.
“After all precautions and vigilance, in an unfortunate turn of events, a delivery partner of our Malviya Nagar kitchen in South Delhi had tested positive,” the company said in a statement.
Online food delivery application Zomato, took to Twitter to confirm that some of the orders delivered by the restaurant staff were placed on it, said that despite various levels of safety measures taken, the delivered items are not fully risk free and customers should be cognisant of the risks involved.
Zomato”s spokesperson told IANSlife: “Food and grocery delivery are essential services, and in spite of everybody’s best efforts, it is not fully risk free. Customers should be cognisant of the risks involved, and follow careful package handling practices if they are getting anything home delivered.”
The spokesperson added: “We are constantly training our delivery partners on safety and hygiene, in addition to providing masks to them multiple times. 50,000+ restaurants which cover a majority of our order volume have set up hand sanitisation stations for delivery partners. We continue to ramp up our safety practices as we speak.”
E-commerce company DealShare, which has been delivering essential items in Gujarat and Rajasthan, besides providing its staff with necessary precautionary measures like sanitizers, masks, and gloves and regularly checking the temperatures of all its delivery executives, are thoroughly scrubbing all items in their warehouse.
Vineet Rao, CEO and Founder, DealShare, said: “We are even conducting regular check-ups at regular intervals for the logistics as well as warehousing staff. A complete safe hand hygiene when picking up the items to deliver. We have set up a special team that has been asked to take care of the safety and security of all the executives who deliver and work in the warehouses. ”
Online grocery store, Grofers also assured its customers that the company is taking strict measures to ensure the safety of its customers and delivery team.
Albinder Dhindsa, CEO and Co-founder, Grofers said: “We understand that delivery is the safest option in this time of social distancing, and to ensure the same, we are following multiple safety and preventive measures across our warehouses, delivery fleet, production of goods as well as for our customers.”
Besides other safety measures, he added, the company is also training its delivery and warehouse staff to create awareness around the best hygiene practices. “Our delivery and warehouse staff are being asked to use hand sanitizer after every delivery. Wearing masks, hairnet, gloves, and usage of sanitizers is mandatory, and all our employees are instructed to change their face mask every 2 days as the safety of customers as well as our delivery and warehouse personnel is paramount for us,” said Dhindsa.
(Puja Gupta can be contacted at email@example.com)
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