AS bars and restaurants were forced to close across Spain, people stuck in their apartments or villas have turned to takeaway food rather than brave the supermarket shopping trip.
There has been an explosion in the food delivery industry across the world with the top companies like Uber eats reporting “unprecedented” activity.
A quick internet search in Spain revealed a similar “explosion” in the number of businesses that have joined in to capture some market share.
A trending keyword on Google has been – Takeaway- or Takeaway Spain- Benidorm- Murcia-Malaga-Benalmadena and even Marbella, all have been vigorously searched, no doubt by singles, couples or even families eager to taste something different or just to hear the doorbell ringing!
But what is the risk of potential exposure to the virus from supermarkets, the packaging food comes in, or though home deliveries?
Is Takeaway Food in Spain Safe from the Coronavirus?
A professor of infectious diseases said that the risk of transmission in such a way is low – and people should simply employ common sense.
Stephen Baker, from the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge, said viruses – unlike bacteria – do not survive well outside the body.
According to the NHS website’s coronavirus page: “It’s very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.”
The key thing to remember is that the biggest risk of transmission is from person to person, which is why social distancing measures are vital in slowing the spread.
Prof Baker said the risk is “not zero” when it comes to home food deliveries, but said it is “relatively minor.”
He said it is not possible for every piece of food to be decontaminated by a supermarket, but “whilst the risk, I would say, is not zero, it’s pretty, pretty small.” Prof Baker said bread taken from a supermarket shelf should go into a bag straight away, and recommended washing fresh fruit and vegetables as normal.
“Things that are in packages, I would maintain a degree of common sense with the view that they are unlikely to make anybody sick,” he said, adding that wet wipes or alcohol wipes can be used if there are any concerns.
While the virus will survive on food as it would do on other surfaces – it then dies off, according to Prof Baker, he said the virus cannot replicate or produce more copies of itself on food.
Most likely places to an infection:
Prof Baker said that rather than food packaging being a problem, it is surfaces such as door handles, lift buttons, petrol pumps and letter boxes that are more of a concern.
“If someone sneezes on to their hands and then touches a lift button or touches a door handle, then that’s going to be the bigger problem.
“This is why washing your hands is important because you could come in contact with these things without knowing, because we do these things all the time without thinking.”
One thing is for sure, we need to support our local takeaway businesses because if not, they may not be there when we come out of this nightmare…