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Pandemic paradox: Income higher for delivery boys in Hyderabad, but so is coronavirus risk

Most food delivery agents wait to pick up food without any physical distancing, some without wearing masks. 

Published: 21st May 2021 08:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st May 2021 08:03 AM   |  A+A-

Food delivery agents wait for their turn to collect food packages for customers at a restaurant near Tolichowki in Hyderabad on Thursday

Food delivery agents wait for their turn to collect food packages for customers at a restaurant near Tolichowki in Hyderabad on Thursday | S Senbagapandiyan

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Over 28,000 delivery agents in the twin cities are at great risk of contracting Covid-19 and spreading the infection among their families in Hyderabad. Crowding outside restaurants as orders pile up, the health of food delivery boys has become a cause of concern in the city. Most food delivery agents wait to pick up food without any physical distancing, some without wearing masks. 

Delivery agents are currently allowed to work during the lockdown hours. Many food delivery agents shared their plight with Express. According to them, there are more food orders during the lockdown. “The money I am making during this lockdown is more than I ever made,” says K Shiva, a Zomato delivery agent. “But it comes at the risk of infecting myself and my family,” he adds. “There is no choice  I have to walk into restaurants to collect the parcel on time. Some of my colleagues have tested positive for Covid-19. But, I have to continue to work with precautions.” “I deliver at least 20 food packages each day now. Earlier, I only use to deliver 8-10 packages,” said Mohammed, a food delivery agent working for Swiggy. 

Many have contracted Covid

As of 2021, there are around 28,000 delivery agents in Hyderabad and nearly 10 per cent of them have tested positive for Covid-19 at some point, say some of them “Food delivery agents are at a higher risk of contracting the virus because restaurants fail to maintain proper protocol and also because many sick people are ordering food instead of cooking,” Shaik Salauddin, president, Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union said. “We have already requested the food delivery companies to run tests among delivery agents and to vaccinate them on a priority basis,” said Salauddin.  



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