Are food deliveries safe in Kabul?

Food delivery by some restaurants in parts of the capital Kabul is going on though the city is under a loose lockdown to prevent the spread of the fatal Covid-19. Under a lockdown strategy, restaurants and cafés are shut down in Kabul.

But a number of restaurants including some fast foods have regular services and middle class costumers, who can afford, use delivery services provided by the restaurants.  Obaidullah Imran, who runs a restaurant in Kabul, says his restaurant delivers 80 to 100 food deliveries every single day.     

The Ministry of Public Health says that the restaurants have to follow a guideline which has been developed by the government.

Do fast food businesses and restaurants follow health guide and instruction issued by health department? Does the MoPH visit restaurants to check if health instructions are properly followed?  

Health experts say that food parcels, delivered by restaurants, may spread virus if not delivered in a safe way. They say the restaurants should make hygiene a top priority if they deliver food services at a time when a dangerous fatal virus threatens lives of human beings. Chefs, cooks, waiters and other restaurant workers should wear masks and gloves and wash their hands with soap every time they touch an object inside or outside kitchens, and they need to keep social distances while working, health experts say.                

Mohammad Obaid Sekandari, who used to be a regular restaurant customer in Kabul, says he has stopped buying outdoor food. He says his friends have advised him to stop outdoor food as the pandemic, which is invisible and can easily spread, is a real threat to human life and health.  

Nazir, a resident of Kabul, says he is concerned about public health. He says food supplies sent by restaurants do follow necessary health instructions—wearing masks and gloves—while delivering food parcels.

Najibullah Amarkhail, a health expert, underlines that he is not sure if restaurants follow health instructions properly and the government keep monitoring food services.

Afghan health authorities say the government has issued a special health guideline for restaurants and every food industry is obliged to act upon it. Kaneshka Turkestani, head of environmental health department at MoPH, says a monitoring team keeps a close eye on restaurants.

Many in Kabul are concerned about public health during quarantine period in the capital. Public concerns come at a time when the coronavirus outbreak continue to climb in Kabul, a city with an estimated six million population.

Though the capital Kabul is under a loose lockdown, streets in parts of the city are chock-a-block with cars.

An official record shows that the total positive cases of the pandemic coronavirus has reached 2,469. Wahidullah Mayar, the spokesperson for the Afghan ministry of public health, on Saturday, May 02, confirmed that 179 people tested positive for the Covid-19 over last 24 hours in 12 provinces of the country. According to official figure, in Afghanistan, 72 Covid-19 patients have passed away and 331 patients, who were infected by the virus, have recovered.  Afghan health authorities have repeatedly acknowledged that the actual number of people infected by the virus and death toll caused by corona are higher than official figure.  

The culture of eating outdoor food is on the rise among middle class urban population—especially in Kabul. There are an estimated 750 restaurants in Kabul.