Wuhan lockdown: How people are still getting food

With coronavirus-hit Wuhan in lockdown, residents are faced with some basic challenges, such as how to find food.

The severe restrictions on the city’s 11 million residents, designed to prevent the spread of the disease, mean even simple grocery shopping and eating out are no longer straightforward.

Chinese blogging site Weibo is abuzz with people complaining about problems getting food.

One Wuhan resident talked about the difficulties in buying certain vegetables, with prices of other foods “a little expensive”.

Even getting food delivered comes with risks.

“I used to order delivery foods many times a week, but now it’s much less, about four times a week, as we want to avoid direct contact with the delivery guy,” said Xingxing Yin, a student from Wuhan.

But one Chinese meal delivery firm is adapting its technology to solve that challenge.

China’s food courier market has grown rapidly in recent years and Meituan is now the biggest player with 440 million customers and 700,000 daily riders.

It is now using its vast network and its technology to help support Wuhan and the wider province of Hubei during the crisis.

Meituan, which is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent, has adapted its food delivery app so riders and customers don’t have to meet face-to-face.

The app has been updated to allow users to add a note to the delivery rider asking them to leave the food on their doorstep or at a building’s reception area. Customers can also call or text the rider directly within the app to discuss a location to drop off the food.

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