The risks of continuing food delivery services during the coronavirus lockdown are slowly becoming apparent.
Zomato has said some of the orders that were placed through its platform were delivered by a delivery executive who has now tested positive for the coronavirus. “We have been made aware that a restaurant’s employee, who has been recently tested positive for Covid-19, had delivered food in the past to a few customers in the Malviya Nagar area in Delhi. All these customers have been contacted by the govt authorities,” Zomato tweeted. “Some of these orders delivered by the restaurant staff were placed on Zomato,” it added.
A COVID-19 notice from us. pic.twitter.com/Bpp7bzJdQN
— Zomato (@ZomatoIN) April 15, 2020
Zomato didn’t name the restaurant to which the delivery executive was attached, but Box8, which operates exclusively on Zomato, put out a statement saying that one of its employees had tested positive. On Twitter, it said that a delivery partner at its Malviya Nagar kitchen in Delhi had tested positive for the coronavirus. Box8 said it was shutting down its outlet for 14 days, and added that all of the employees coworkers had been quarantined.
Statement: Incident at Malviya Nagar Kitchen in South Delhi pic.twitter.com/Uf0H0xrwis
— BOX8 – Desi Meals (@BOX8_in) April 15, 2020
Meanwhile, it wasn’t just the restaurant and its employees that were affected — news reports have said that at least 72 families in south Delhi were quarantined after this delivery executive delivered meals to them. India Today reported that the delivery boy had been showing symptoms for around 20 days. His test results came back on April 14 and showed that he had tested positive for Covid-19. The report added that the delivery executive was admitted to a hospital in Delhi where his condition is stated to be stable.
Food delivery firms continue to operate during the lockdown, but the dangers of their operations are apparent. Delivery executives, who move from house to house and come in contact with hundreds of people every day, are at high risk of contracting the coronavirus. Once these executives have contracted the coronavirus, they’ll continue meeting hundreds of people every day, and could in turn contract them with the coronavirus. The virus can take up to 14 days for the symptoms to show, so these executives could potentially thousands of people before their symptoms surface. Some states have stopped food deliveries during this period, but Delhi is one of the regions where food deliveries are still allowed.