The main reason the Corona virus continues to spread is because people are forced to come out to procure essential items like grocery, milk and medicine. If we can stop this, then we can effectively control the spread of the pandemic. Can this be achieved using technology?

Here is a simple idea I propose for the local administrations to implement effective and practical social distancing. This can be implemented in any locality of any country. The entire infrastructure can be setup at a purely local level.

Setup a local delivery network within each police station limit

  • Make a list of milk booths, grocery shops and medical stores in each police station limit.
  • Setup and announce a WhatsApp number to which local residents can send their grocery and medical requirements.
  • Announce an easy digital payment method like UPI to which payment can be made.
  • Setup a delivery schedule like two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening for the deliveries to be made.

Use Local Online Delivery Infrastructure to deliver essential items

  • Let the residents send their requirements to the given WhatsApp number along with their location map or address.
  • Then calculate and send the cost of available items to residents who can then make payment via an easy digital transfer (like UPI in India).
  • The local delivery network of online delivery personnel or volunteers can be used to procure the items from the local grocery and medical shops and deliver to the residents.

The Impact of this Local Delivery Network

  • Services of delivery personnel of online delivery companies can be used to deliver the essentials.
  • Healthy Volunteers, especially those who have recovered from Corona and are in good health can also provide their services in this delivery network. So, this increases herd immunity.
  • Police should give passes only to the delivery personnel, so no other resident has a reason to come out on the streets. This limits movements of people drastically. This also frees the police personnel from having to keep watch on those coming out to see if they have a valid reason or are simply wandering around.
  • Digital payment means people need not interact physically with those making the delivery and can leave the items for a period long enough for the viruses to be ineffective, before touching them. The delivery can be done by leaving the items at the doorstep.
  • A very small population of only delivery personnel will be out on the streets. This means the spread of infection will decrease due to practical increase in social distancing.
  • This will also help the local administration in accumulating data about items that are in demand, and arrange the logistics accordingly for their procurement.

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