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Govt asks e-comm firms to maintain hygiene in delivery processes


To curb the rise of the Covid-19 virus and safety of employees and consumers, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MCA) has come out with circular asking e-commerce firms to maintain hygiene in all last-mile delivery processes.

The ministry has also asked online retailers and marketplaces to quarantine last-mile delivery staffs suffering symptoms of common cold and flu and develop an operating procedure to deliver goods for those who are under home quarantine.

“All e-commerce platforms are requested to ensure the maintenance of proper hygiene and sanitation of the last-mile delivery personnel, kitchen, parking areas and delivery vehicles,” said an ET report quoting the Ministry of Consumer Affair as saying.

The MCA fresh circular comes to post its notification on March 13 ordering masks (2ply & 3ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitizers should be designated as essential commodities to ensure their wide availability.

E-commerce firms have also been instructed to sell the above mentioned essential items at a fixed price. At the same, they have been asked to restrict the number of items sold to every customer. However, the ministry did not define how many masks a person can be allowed to buy from online retailers.

Over the past few months with the rising cases of Covid-19 virus, e-commerce companies such as Amazon and Flipkart have seen a huge uptick in demand for masks and sanitisers.

Flipkart in response to Entrackr query said that the company has been proactive in its sanitization effort and taking and precautionary measures at their facilities.

“We are taking all preventive measures as advised by WHO guidelines. All our warehouse and delivery partners are adhering to the WHO’s hand hygiene advisory during deliveries, using sanitizer to clean their hands. We are also constantly monitoring the health of our employees and delivery associates,” said Amitesh Jha, Senior Vice President – eKart & Marketplace, Flipkart Group.

“Our delivery executives are covered with both life and medical insurance, and anyone who contracts COVID-19 or is placed under quarantine will be provided leave with full pay and benefits,” he added.

Amazon is yet to respond to Entrackr request for comment on the development.

Meanwhile, the govt has also been reaching out to health experts, observers and companies to fight off the rise of the Covid-19 virus in India.

Several govt agencies including the Department of Biotechnology, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and Department of Science and Technology have been spreading awareness to minimise casualty due to Coronavirus and working to find the remedy for it.

Prof K VijayRaghavan, the Principal Scientific Advisor to the government in a series of tweet, said that scientists are working together to develop implementable solutions for people in the country.

Update: The post has been updated with Flipkart response.

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