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Can we get a Coronavirus infection from food in India? If so, how? And how do we ensure that we protect ourselves?I give you below, three mechanisms by which food interferes with your social isolation (self-quarantine), and how you can protect yourself from COVID-19 in these situations.

The first is from household help. From your maid or cook. This is true irrespective of whether they are infected/carriers or not. Because they break your self-quarantine (social isolation) by coming into the house from outside. It is on the door handles they use when they walk in. It is on their clothes and on all the things they touch in the house. Whatever you do, you have broken your self-quarantine. And let’s not forget all the stuff they touch in the kitchen – the cutlery, the glasses, the salad vegetables, the chutneys, and more. 

How do you protect yourself, then? I can’t see how you can continue to have the home worker service and still maintain the quarantine. Unless you are in a position to get the home-worker to have a shower and give them a clean change of clothes. And this is before they touch anything at all and before they enter the house. In my home, we have asked the maid and cook to stay at home and not come for the next few weeks. We are doing everything ourselves. And so long as we can afford it, to remain humane, we will pay the home workers their full fees for the days they are not working for us at home.

The second is from restaurants. But I am not going to talk about this as I am assuming that self-isolation must mean that you do not go to restaurants to eat. Washing your hands and not touching your face is not enough. In the restaurant, you can’t determine that the plate you eat from, or the glasses you drink from, are indeed, sterile.

The third is the home delivery of food and groceries. The food itself, unless it’s raw/uncooked, is safe, but the exposed parts of the containers and packaging are not. So, it’s a good idea to unpack outside the house, disinfect the boxes and your hands before bringing it into the home. As for groceries, ditto – sanitize it before getting it into the house.

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