A 19-year-old food delivery agent has tested positive for coronavirus in Delhi, causing a huge scare for over 70 families that have been asked to quarantine. The teen, working for a restaurant in Malviya Nagar in south Delhi, had delivered food till last Sunday, until he fell ill. He has been admitted to the government-run RML hospital.
In the last 15 days that he worked, he delivered to 72 families in areas like Hauz Khas, Malviya Nagar and Savitri Nagar. These families have been home quarantined and are being monitored, according to BM Mishra, district collector, south Delhi.
Seventeen more delivery boys who came in contact with the teen have been quarantined at a facility in Chhattarpur.
The case has raised concern at a time millions across the country are dependent on home-delivered food to tide them over through the extended lockdown enforced to slow the contagion in India.
The restaurant where the rider worked has shut the branch for 14 days. In a statement, it said it had maintained all COVID-19 protocol but a delivery partner had been infected. “After all precautions and vigilance, in an unfortunate turn of events, a delivery partner of our Malviya Nagar kitchen in South Delhi had 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 restaurant said.
“While we serve the society, one of our delivery partners has taken the hit. We stand by him and are doing everything to support him,” added the eatery.
The delivery boy doesn’t have any travel history, say officials, who suspect he may have caught the virus while delivering to an infected family.
In a statement, food delivery giant Zomato said some of the restaurant’s orders had been placed on its platform. “We are not sure whether the rider was affected at the time of delivery,” said the company.
“At Zomato’s end, we are leaving no stone unturned to make sure that our customers, our delivery partners and our restaurant partners are safe. COVID-19 could happen to anyone – and it is near impossible for all of us to completely isolate ourselves, especially when we need outside support for essentials such as food…We believe that none of our riders should and would knowingly keep working if they knew they were infected with COVID-19,” said Zomato, asserting that it was maintaining all precautions.
Delhi has 1,578 COVID-19 cases, including over 30 deaths. Across India, there are over 12,000 coronavirus cases; more than 400 have died.