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Supermarket runs or online food delivery – what is better during COVID-19?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a global pandemic and is rapidly spreading in Pakistan. The government of Sindh has been on a lockdown since March 23rd by strictly imposing measures that imply social distancing. Due to this all food delivery services have also been suspended, and more people are seen going to supermarkets thereby being further exposed to others and increasing the risk of COVID-19.

The streets are deserted, offices and restaurants shut, with only grocery stores open. The issue has been raised on social media platforms by many, some are even sharing videos and pictures of departmental stores and certain market places where large number of people have gathered to buy goods, since that is the only option available for them. According to stats shared by the Center for Disease Control, social distancing is considered when a person remains out of congregate settings, avoids mass gatherings and maintains distance of approximately 6 feet from others when possible, which isn’t the case in enclosed mass gatherings.

In the UK a similar lockdown was enforced where strict procedures were implied, especially when it came to daily shopping for essentials and food. As a social distancing practice, locals therefore shifted towards online deliveries at home, where the chance of being exposed to the virus is minimal. With delivery platforms ensuring safety features involving frequent sanitization of the delivery person and the product, chances of COVID-19 are reduced hence, a similar concept can be easily adapted in Pakistan.

Since before the lockdown in Sindh, services like foodpanda, other international restaurant franchises, services such as Daraz trained their employees to follow health and safety protocols. foodpanda and Daraz had started Contact Less payments for customers to avoid human contact during COVID-19. While others, such as foodpanda Pakistan ensured health and safety of everyone linked to them by distributing hand sanitizers to their heroes, monitoring their daily temperature and installing wash basins outside restaurants and rider hubs. I’m addition to this, they also added new features to their app that allowed customers to purchase foodpanda Hygiene Kit and the option for Contact Less Deliveries, something that China also incorporated to combat coronavirus.

Seeing a rise of 16 cases from March 24th to 27th summing up the total to 426, one cannot help but wonder whether the suspension of services is an effective move or not as people gathering at marketplaces for food are more prone to COVID-19. Hence, the wise decision would be to shift to licenced online delivery platforms, one prime example is that of foodpanda Pakistan. These platforms ensure health and safety of everyone linked to their network and is also the most preferred way to maintain social distancing, globally as well. During this crucial time, social distancing should be pracitced at any cost and with online delivery platforms incorporating safety measures specifically for the pandemic, the ideal way to go forward would be to resume their operations.

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