This is a page built specifically for the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be updated continuously and rapidly and with the approval and oversight of qualified medical professionals, until the pandemic is over, whereupon it can be safely ignored.
These are the protocols for:
- delivering items to someone immuno-compromised or in self isolation
- collecting items from someone who is infected or in self-isolation
They are designed so you do not introduce the virus to their home, or take away virus from an already-infected home. They may appear long and thorough, but it is absolutely essential that virus is not introduced into the home of someone especially at risk, who may need an ICU bed if infected. It is also essential that you do not risk spreading the virus further from the home of someone who is already infected.
In most cases, the person delivering should not even enter the recipient’s home at any point during this process in order to prevent the virus from being spread into or out of the house (on shoes, coats, etc). People receiving deliveries should be aware that anyone who attempts to persuade them into allowing entry is not acting according to protocol.
For situations where it is necessary to enter the recipient’s home, see our ‘protocol for entering a home in self-isolation‘.
- You should clean and disinfect each item you’re going to deliver, and place them all in a plastic bag (carrier, ziploc, etc) cleaned both inside and out (or a new unused bag). See our protocol for disinfecting items for how to disinfect each item.
- Disinfect the inside of another bag (or use a new unused one) and place the first bag inside this bag. This is to protect the disinfected items in the inner bag, so someone immuno-compromised can safely touch it. Close the top of the outer bag as much as you can.
- Try to travel to see the person without using public transport – so by pavement, a private car in which you’ve wiped down all the surfaces you’ll touch with 1% bleach solution, or a taxi. If you cannot do these, and must use public transport, try not to touch surfaces (like handrails or buttons) with your hands, use hand sanitiser after travelling if available, or wear gloves which you can change. If wearing gloves while travelling, remove these without touching the exterior with your bare skin. (illustrated technique, video technique)
- As you approach the person’s house, call/text/etc them to open the door. Do this before you put on (fresh) gloves, so that you don’t risk contaminating the gloves with any virus that may be on your phone. If they live in a block of flats or other building with a communal entrance accessed by a buzzer, call/text and ask them to buzz you in, rather than pressing the button.
- Put on (fresh) gloves, ensuring that you touch only the cuff of the glove with your bare hand (illustrated technique) This minimises the risk of transmitting viruses to the exterior of your gloved hands. If you have hand sanitiser, use it before putting on the gloves, to further reduce this risk.
- If there are plenty of masks available in your area, you should wear a mask for this; if not, prioritise masks for healthcare workers and people who must enter houses to assist with personal care. If you do have a mask, put it on before putting on your gloves, to minimise the risk of transferring virus from your face to your gloved hands. (ECDC)
- Ask the recipient to back away from the door at least two meters, and put your bag on the floor immediately inside the doorway. Do not step through the door.
- Fold out the outer bag so the recipient doesn’t have to touch it. Don’t touch the inner bag.
- Back away two meters, let them get the items by picking up the inner bag and lifting it out of the outer bag and do not get closer than two meters. (Feel free to shout greetings! But don’t hug/hand off items in person/etc.)
- When they have backed off, take the outer bag away with you – it’s potentially covered in viruses on the outside.
- Take your gloves off, without touching the exterior of the glove with your bare skin. (illustrated technique, video technique). This protects you from virus transmission if delivering to an already-infected recipient. If you are wearing a mask, remove gloves first and if possible put on fresh ones, then remove the mask by hooking fingers under the straps at the back. Finally, remove fresh gloves if used. (ECDC)
- Leave, after washing your hands with hand sanitiser for more than 20 seconds if possible.
- When you get back, wash your hands and disinfect items you have used – see our protocol for disinfecting things.
- If someone is self-isolating because they have been exposed to infection, or if it is confirmed that they are infected, the same procedures apply if it is necessary to collect cash or other items from the house. Items must only be removed from a potentially-infected house if there is no alternative.
- The self-isolating person should clean and disinfect each item, while wearing gloves, according to our protocol for disinfecting things. Remember that the majority of bank notes are now plastic and can be washed.
- Place clean items in a new unused plastic bag, or a bag which has been disinfected inside and out, then place this bag inside another bag.
- When the person collecting arrives, the self-isolating person should place the double-bagged items on the floor, fold the outer bag down, and back away two metres (Feel free to shout greetings! But don’t hug/hand off items in person/etc.)
- The person collecting should put on gloves and pick up the inner bag without touching the outer bag.
- After leaving, the person collecting should remove gloves without touching the exterior (illustrated technique, video technique), and wash their hands as soon as possible.