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Coronavirus: 'Supermarket delivery driver in Northern Ireland was in contact with customer in self-isolation'

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A delivery driver for a major supermarket retailer was in contact with a customer in isolation, speaking for almost 10 minutes, before going on to complete other deliveries

A delivery driver for a major supermarket retailer was in contact with a customer in isolation, speaking for almost 10 minutes, before going on to complete other deliveries

A delivery driver for a major supermarket retailer was in contact with a customer in isolation, speaking for almost 10 minutes, before going on to complete other deliveries

The Public Health Agency has urged anyone in self-isolation due to coronavirus fears to follow the guidelines and not answer the door to anyone.

The advice comes after it emerged that a delivery driver for a major supermarket retailer was in contact with a customer in isolation, speaking for almost 10 minutes, before going on to complete other deliveries.

Public Health Agency guidelines on self-isolation say anyone in that situation should not make contact with anyone calling at their front door.

The online customer contacted the Belfast Telegraph saying he was shocked and more than a little surprised that there didn't seem to be any common sense on display, and that it highlighted just how easy it could be to spread the virus through the community.

"It was worrying that someone could be so open about being in contact with a person in isolation then move on to another house for another delivery," he said. "I've no idea how many homes would have been visited afterwards. Surely there is some sort of policy in place that those delivering the goods should be abiding by?"

Tesco told the Belfast Telegraph the company has a process for allowing customers to alert a delivery driver in advance if they want their delivery left at a convenient place for collection.

The delivery will be placed into bags and left as requested - but the issue is that drivers need to know this in advance. Asda and Sainsburys had not replied to a request for a response, but Andrew Opie, director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said all companies are working as hard as they can to minimise the impact of the virus.

"Most of our members are more than happy for the majority of online deliveries to be delivered on doorsteps when customers have suggested that they are self-isolating," he said.

"Despite difficult times, retailers strive to provide the best service for their customers, both online and in-store and are working as hard as they can to ensure consumers have access to whatever products they want."

A PHA spokesperson reiterated that it remains vital the guidelines offered to those in self-isolation are followed.

"People in self-isolation are expected to follow the advice they have been given to limit any potential spread of the virus.

"With regard to deliveries, the Public Health Agency recommends that advice developed by Public Health England on this issue is followed.

"This advice states: 'You will need to ask for help if you require groceries, other shopping or medications.

"Alternatively, you can order by phone or online. The delivery instruction needs to state that the items are to be left outside, or in the porch, or as appropriate for your home'."

Last week companies including Asda and Deliveroo issued advice to delivery drivers in a move to stop them from contracting the virus.

Deliveroo riders have been sent official guidelines based on the advice of the NHS and public health bodies, which include how to stay safe when delivering an order.

For Asda workers, home delivery staff have been advised to follow government advice, including guidance on hand-washing. Delivery drivers carry cleaning equipment in their vans.

Belfast Telegraph