Don’t get Complacent – Level Four is Far from Home Safe


Event Africa Contributor 12/05/2020 Case Studies

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Burt Rodrigues, CEO of Biodx shares his insights into level four lockdown and what that means.

“If you were out on the streets on May 1st you probably saw lots of happy people riding bikes, running and walking with their eager dogs, free from their homes after over a month of lockdown. Many would have been wearing masks and those that didn’t were duly given dirty looks.

“As we saw in photos taken around the country, especially in popular areas like Cape Town’s Sea Point Promenade, people thronged to the area making social distancing almost impossible. On the same day, malls opened their doors to let people shop for essential winter clothing and bedding – again crowds of people jostling for goods. Did the shops make provision for social distancing – mostly not?

“May 4th was another red-letter day for two particular groups of people – those returning to work and those who were bored with their home cooking and who could now order food delivery from certain restaurants.
But South Africa has only had just over 130 reported deaths…

“Compared with many other countries our statistics don’t seem too bad but that’s only because of the lockdown and our compliance so far (as well as the comparably limited number of tests done per capita: currently 4,440 per million vs 41,860 for Portugal – so are our stats really accurate?). Despite varied reports giving reasons why South Africans could have some built-in immunity, this is all mostly speculation with no real evidence to back it up.

Talking of ‘no real evidence’ with a virus that’s only been identified for a relatively short time, it’s technically impossible to know much, if anything at this stage about its behaviour.

“Even when it comes to wearing masks there are various opinions on their efficacy with the general feeling rather wearing it than not.

The invisible enemy

“Although this may feel like freedom, Level Four is still a long way from recovery and not a time to get complacent over safety around COVID-19. For instance, although you won’t get infected by the food itself that’s delivered to you, the danger lies in your interaction with whoever delivers it.

‘But the restaurant takes the temperature of all its drivers or checks them out’ you’re told and ‘the driver looked fine’ but remember there’s a 14-day incubation challenge where the person doesn’t show any symptoms. By the time the restaurant finds out their driver has the virus, it’s way too late to do anything about all the people they have delivered to.

“According to The World Health Organisation and many esteemed experts worldwide, there’s currently no evidence of COVID-19 being transmitted by food. It would need to enter your respiratory system via your mucous membranes – in other words as long as you don’t inhale your food through your nose you’re good to go. When food goes through your mouth directly to your stomach the acid there will kill any virus.

“This, of course, doesn’t mean restaurants don’t have to adhere to strict controls on handwashing and making sure their staff are healthy, amongst other safety measures. Restaurants must make sure that the food they send out is overseen to be as hygienically prepared as it can be.

TIPS FOR SAFELY ORDERING TAKEOUT
• Order and pay for food online.
• Wait until the delivery person is at a safe distance before picking it up.
• Immediately transfer food to a bowl or plate. Coronavirus lasts 24 hours on cardboard and three days on plastic and stainless steel.
• Recycle or throw away all packaging and then wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water.