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Coronavirus: Takeaway firms JustEat and Deliveroo in talks with government on providing care packages to elderly

Ministers are in talks with takeaway delivery companies to provide food and support to elderly and vulnerable people if they are forced to self-isolate over coronavirus.JustEat has spoken to the government about a wide range of possible measures, including providing food and care packages to vulnerable and isolated people, Sky News can reveal. Rival firm…

Ministers are in talks with takeaway delivery companies to provide food and support to elderly and vulnerable people if they are forced to self-isolate over coronavirus.

JustEat has spoken to the government about a wide range of possible measures, including providing food and care packages to vulnerable and isolated people, Sky News can reveal.

Rival firm Deliveroo confirmed that it entered into discussions with Downing Street and several government departments following a Number 10 “tech summit” last week.

A sign directs patients towards an NHS 111 coronavirus (COVID-19) pod at St Thomas' Hospital in London

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A sign directs patients towards an NHS 111 coronavirus (COVID-19) pod at St Thomas’ Hospital in London

Deliveroo, which has over 30,000 active riders, is investigating a number of ways to bring food to elderly people, including ways to help anyone who is unable to use apps easily.

JustEat, which was not included in the initial “tech summit”, has discussed helping people who are isolated geographically and socially, as well as the elderly.

The company, which claims to cover 95% of UK postcodes through its online marketplace, “has unparalleled access and insight to the data behind food deliveries in the UK,” a spokesperson told Sky News.

“Our business has a direct line of communication to the consumers and restaurants who use the platform, many of which are small and independent businesses who may be particularly affected by the impact of coronavirus,” the spokesperson added.

“We have made these points to government and indeed have already spoken to relevant departments and officials about this.”

CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 21: A Deliveroo worker on May 21, 2019 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

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Deliveroo went into talks with Downing Street last week

A Deliveroo spokesperson told Sky News the company wanted to “help however we can and our team in London will do whatever it takes to assist”.

They added: “Our riders are part of their local communities up and down the country and we know they will want to help support people, particularly the most vulnerable.”

The news that the government was in talks with Deliveroo was first revealed by ITV News, which also reported that the prime minister’s chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, was speaking to Uber.

Dominic Cummings, special adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson watches him holding a news conference as he addresses the government's response to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, at 10 Downing Street in London on March 12, 2020. - Britain on Thursday said up to 10,000 people in the UK could be infected with the novel coronavirus COVID-19, as it announced new measures to slow the spread of the pandemic. (Photo by SIMON DAWSON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SIMON DAWSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Dominic Cummings is reportedly speaking to Uber

Uber, which operates food delivery business Uber Eats, confirmed to Sky News that it had also been in contact with the government about providing support to elderly and vulnerable people.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, JustEat and Deliveroo have introduced a “contactless” drop-off service so that riders and customers can practice “social distancing”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Sunday that over-70s may soon be told to stay home for up to four months, even if they do not have symptoms of coronavirus.

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