Zomato denies viral rumours its rider tested positive for Covid-19

Topics Coronavirus | Zomato | Lockdown

Zomato deploys its own riders to deliver restaurant orders while some restaurants prefer to have their own delivery staff fulfil orders
The food delivery person who was found to have been tested positive for Covid-19 was a rider with Box8, a cloud kitchen startup, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

"After all precautions and vigilance, in an unfortunate turn of events, a delivery partner of our Malviya Nagar kitchen in South Delhi tested COVID positive yesterday. We have shared all required information with authorities and they have reached out to all customers who had come in indirect contact with the affected. the delivery partner is keeping well and getting the required medical attention. All his co-workers have been quarantines and we have shut down the Malviya Nagar kitchen in South Delhi for the next 14 days," the company said in a statement.

The incident was rumoured to have affected a Zomato delivery partner, which the food delivery platform denied Thursday morning. While some of the orders fulfilled by Box8 were placed through Zomato, the delivery partner worked with the cloud kitchen.

Authorities have put the people who came in contact with the delivery personnel under quarantine.

Later in the day, Zomato co-founder Deepinder Goyal took to Twitter to say that as an essential service, riders are putting themselves at risk, and it upon customers and riders to be safe at all times. 

"The latest FSSAI guidelines make some things very clear – there are no reports or any evidence of COVID-19 being linked to transmission by food. Viruses need to enter living cells in order to be able to replicate. Unlike bacteria, they never replicate in food. In the case of COVID-19, the main risk involved is human-to-human transmission during food handling – i.e. from close contact with an infected food handler or customer," he said. 

Zomato deploys its own riders to deliver restaurant orders while some restaurants prefer to have their own delivery staff fulfill orders. 

Some of these orders fulfilled by the Box8 delivery executive were placed through Zomato but were fulfilled by the restaurant’s own staff, the company said.

A message doing the rounds earlier in the day falsely claimed that on 11th April, a food delivery made by a “Zomato guy” at an address in Shivalik, Malviya Nagar, has led to the family at the said address being quarantined after the delivery person tested positive for Covid-19. 

“Our riders risk their health while providing essential services like cooked food delivery and grocery delivery...We also believe that none of our riders should and would knowingly keep working if they knew they were infected with COVID-19,” the Zomato spokesperson added.

Agreeing that it wasn't possible for Zomato or other delivery platforms to completely eliminate the risk, Goyal said "we can, together, help minimise the risk even further. Please follow safe package handling practices – irrespective of what delivery you receive at home – food or merchandise.  For example – a) don’t touch the food packaging with your bare hands b) empty the food into your own containers asap and dispose the packaging c) then wash your hands thoroughly d) re-heat the food before you eat for that last millimeter of safety."

On Wednesday, the online food ordering platform rolled out a feature which allows users to track the body temperature of their food delivery partner on the app. Available on the order tracking screen, this feature will capture the temperature checked before the delivery partner picks up an order for delivery.

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