With scores of people in 72 houses in quarantine in Delhi's South District area after a pizza delivery employee tested positive for coronavirus, the question hangs heavy over whether door-to-door deliveries are a new health hazard.
Even though online food delivery applications across the country have started contactless delivery in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and incumbent social distancing rules, such an incident has become a matter of great concern.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, the norms for food delivery chains are likely to get stringent. BM Mishra, district magistrate of the south Delhi district, stated that employers of these firms must "issue fitness certificates to all its delivery persons and other staff at least once a week after proper health checks".
“All our Covid containment efforts will go in vain if there is no safety mechanism for the thousands of delivery persons operating in the city,” he added.
After the incident, foodtech startup BOX8 with whom the delivery man was employed, stated, "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 yesterday."
The company also said that their delivery partner is keeping well and getting the required medical attention. "We have shut down the Malviya Nagar Kitchen in South Delhi for the next 14 days."
Online food ordering app Zomato, through which BOX8 sells food, on Thursday, confirmed that a rider from one of its restaurant partners tested positive forACovid-19. It, however, did not name the restaurant.
The online food ordering app further said that all the customers have been contacted, and the restaurant has been shut, effective immediately.
Mishra told IANS that after the incident surfaced, authorities immediately quarantined his 16 colleagues at the outlet and a detailed trail was followed to identify each house where food was delivered by the outlet.
"We have found that 72 houses had taken delivery from that outlet and hence everyone has been told to follow precautionary measures and be under self- quarantine," Mishra told IANS.
Another multi-national pizza outlet, Dominos, has also tried to assure consumers. "We have moved 100% of deliveries to Zero Contact Delivery thereby avoiding any physical contact with the customer. Additionally, all our Safe Delivery Experts are wearing gloves and masks to ensure the safety of our customers," the company said in a statement.
With inputs from IANS