The movement control order (MCO) was enforced on 18th March 2020 where Malaysians are told to stay at home in order to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further in the nation. Our daily routine since then took a lot of alternatives to keep us going to adapt to some new normal and that included getting food, groceries and packages whether in person or relying a lot on delivery services.
While we take precautions in everything as we leave our home, what about the things that we bring into our home? Delivery goods, packages, food and groceries; how safe are they actually?
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According to Dr Lee Yew Fong, a Doctoral candidate in Biomedicine of Global Health Track at the Institute of Global Health, University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland and a medical doctor affiliated with the Ministry of Health, Malaysia in her COVID-19’s Frequently Asked Question PDF at UKM’s portal, yes, it is safe to receive a package from any areas affected by COVID-19 since the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low. Packages that has been moved, travelled and exposed to different conditions and temperatures also have low risks of COVID-19 virus transmission.
But how safe is takeout food then? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have said that there are no evidence found on novel coronavirus transmitting through food or food packaging. While the virus is found to be surviving in the air for several hours and on surfaces for up to three days; a study by Paula Cannon, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Keck School of Medicine of USC reminded that the study was done in a laboratory through a controlled experiment in conditions that are not likely similar to everyday living.
As for your added peace of mind, food delivery services such as foodpanda has a dedicated telegram chat to keep delivery partners up to date in real time of any new developments, and to encourage information sharing that is aligned and recommended by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Grabfood strictly suspends their partners’ accounts that have contacted COVID-19 temporarily in order to ensure safety to its customers while also educating and monitoring both Partners and Riders to keep updated with the guidelines provided by the MOH.
Both foodpanda and Grabfood have a contactless delivery option to minimise human to human direct contact so you could have your food at ease. The best way to have your takeout food is by first washing/disinfecting the packaging according to how you see fit, before transferring the food bought into your own home plates and bowls. Then immediately discard the packaging and wash your hands with soap and water before enjoying your meal.
So, go ahead and have your food delivery and takeout in peace. Just remember to follow rules and practice social distancing, wash or sanitise your hands. It doesn’t hurt to stay extra vigilant and add more precautions even after the MCO. Share with us what you do during this pandemic with regards to your takeout or you’re more comfortable with home cooking?
**The facts and views expressed are solely that of the author/authors and do not necessarily reflect that of the editorial board
Grabfood measures https://www.grab.com/my/safety/covid-19/