KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — The government has instructed all food delivery workers to undergo health screenings, amid the Covid-19 epidemic.
Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said food delivery riders from fast food restaurants and over 40 e-hailing companies nationwide, as well as smaller companies or hired individual riders in small towns or rural areas, would be allowed to operate during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Individual food delivery riders or workers from small companies in the outskirts are required to register with their local council.
“The meeting has decided that in order to protect the safety of food delivery workers, we have decided that they must undergo health screenings,” Ismail Sabri told a press conference, referring to a special meeting by ministers and the National Security Council.
“Health screenings can be done at public health or private clinics in their respective districts. We want to protect their health because these are the people who deliver food directly to their customers. Of course there will be face-to-face contact between them and those who ordered the food. So we ask that all of them undergo health screening.”
He said the Transport Ministry would issue instructions to the over 40 e-hailing companies, while the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry would do likewise for fast food companies.
Ismail Sabri did not specify if he was referring to Covid-19 tests. He also did not specify if the government, company, or the employee would pay for any tests or screenings done in private facilities.
Ministry of Health (MOH) facilities currently only test people who display symptoms and have previously travelled overseas, had close contact with confirmed coronavirus patients, or had links to the tabligh gathering at Sri Petaling mosque or other Covid-19 clusters.
MOH’s testing strategy is focused on high-risk groups and locations, such as coronavirus clusters, tahfiz students, foreign workers, and the latest, senior citizens living in aged care facilities.
Covid-19 tests in the private sector cost between about RM400 to RM700.
It is unclear how many food delivery workers there are in Malaysia. But Foodpanda alone, a giant food delivery company, has some 12,000 riders. A survey by The Centre reportedly found that most e-hailing and delivery drivers earned less than RM3,000 monthly.