COVID-19: China runs out of delivery boys, seeks help from healthy citizens

1 min read
deliveryman

There seems to be no end in sight to China’s Covid woes.

Media reports from China say that the country is running out of delivery people amid a wave of Covid 19 infections, and local governments are mobilising citizens to help.

Local authorities in Beijing, Shanghai and other municipalities have called on healthy citizens to help deliver food takeouts, as more riders call in sick.

While a severe labour shortage has hit the on-demand service sector, orders have also surged as people stay home and shop online to avoid infections.

As the country has started to unwind its zero-Covid measures, a surge in coronavirus infections has led to a severe labour shortage across all industries, with the on-demand services sector, which has become a vital part of urban life, experiencing the most severe disruption.

Courier firms in China received 315 million orders and delivered 324 million parcels last Friday, down 7.4 per cent and 15.2 per cent, respectively, from a day earlier, according to the Ministry of Transport. At a JD.com delivery station in Beijing’s Sanyuanqiao area, an employee said Covid-19 had swept through the outpost, affecting all of its nine full-time workers.

Orders on on-demand platforms like Meituan and Alibaba Group Holding’s Ele.me, meanwhile, have climbed as people stay home and order food, groceries and medications online.

The South China Morning Post reported that an Ele.me delivery man surnamed Song said he had to take six days off because he had a high fever from Covid, but many of his colleagues with milder symptoms kept working, which usually means riding a bike under sub-zero temperatures and strong winds for hours. Still, the hard work failed to keep up with the soaring orders.

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