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Are food deliveries and takeaways safe?

India Zomato Delivery Man File photo

Many of us are wondering about the risk of catching coronavirus from anything we touch - including food and packaging.

However, there is no evidence of Covid-19 being transmitted through food.

And while there is no such thing as "zero risk", says Prof Sally Bloomfield from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, it is only the packaging - handled by other people - that would be of concern for potential transmission of the virus.

For takeaway food, you can minimise that risk, Prof Bloomfield advises, by: "Emptying the contents, disposing of the packaging into a refuse bag and washing your hands - thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water - before you eat."

How safe are delivered groceries?

Deliveries are far less risky than a trip to the supermarket, because the risk of transmission comes from surfaces – when a person with contaminated hands touches a surface, they can transfer the virus onto it.

So shopping for a vulnerable neighbour and delivering food to them would mean they could avoid that risky environment.

"We know that coronavirus does not 'breed' outside the body, so by the time [food] is delivered, any chance of infectivity is already lower because the virus starts to lose its infectivity as soon as it leaves the infected person," says Prof Bloomfield.

She suggests spraying or wiping plastic or glass containers with carefully diluted household bleach.

"For fresh goods - which were unwrapped when you brought them and could be handled by anyone - wash thoroughly under running water and leave to dry," she adds.

"It may be better for the moment, if possible, to stick to freshly cooked rather than raw foods, which will destroy any residual virus."

Columnist: bbc.com

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