A group of volunteers have been helping those in self-isolation due to coronavirus. (ABC News: Joshua Boscaini)
A new “order and deliver” service run entirely on social media is helping get supplies to hundreds of people who are in self-isolation after returning to Adelaide from coronavirus-affected China.
- A group on social media is connecting volunteers and people stuck in self-isolation to provide crucial supplies
- About 100 volunteers and hundreds of recipients registered within the first 24 hours of the group starting
- Those in isolation have recently returned from China
Organisers said about 100 volunteers and hundreds more self-isolated people have taken up the call in the newly formed ‘Adelaide Chinese community self-quarantine and volunteers’ WeChat group.
It was formed in early February when the Federal Government told anyone returning from China to stay at home in isolation for two weeks to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The group connects volunteers offering to do grocery deliveries for people in self-quarantine while they wait out the 14-day coronavirus incubation period.
Adelaide business owner Hannie Leong is one of the many volunteers to have taken up the task of delivering orders to self-isolated families.
“Those people who actually go back to China … will clear all the food in the fridge [before they go] … so we know that when they come back they definitely will need some help in getting the groceries,” Ms Leong said.
Ms Leong has already helped multiple families since the chat was established, and purchases groceries at Adelaide’s Chinatown to help local businesses also suffering a downturn amid coronavirus fears.
Once she has bought the groceries, Ms Leong leaves the food order at the affected family’s front door, carefully avoiding direct contact with people in self-isolation.
Payment for the goods is finalised online to avoid the physical exchange of money.
Hannie Leong paying for groceries she’s purchasing for self-isolated people in Adelaide. (ABC News: Joshua Boscaini)
She said members of the community were working together so they could meet requests from self-isolated people while managing busy work schedules.
“We work in a team and we subdivide into suburbs … we come together and see who can actually deliver to this family and [on] what day,” Ms Leong said.
“We just want to help each other and get over this as soon as possible.”
The group’s organiser, Anna Cheung, who is also the Tong De Association of SA president, said she came up with the idea after hearing concerns from people in isolation after returning from China.
“A lot of people were actually contacting me with queries like … ‘there’s nothing in the fridge, what is my whole family supposed to be eating’,” Ms Cheung said.
“So a lot of members in our Tong De group raised [thought] ‘how about we just set up a group, we call for volunteers and hopefully we can do a postcode match’.”
She said the groundswell of support was astounding, attracting 300 volunteers and people in self-isolation in about 24 hours.
She said the number of participants had now risen to about 500 people.
“When I set up the group I was hoping only to try to see how many volunteers would be willing to sign up,” Ms Cheung said.
“This group is really, really united together, this is why I really feel deeply touched by our volunteers.
“A lot of them are helping to purchase five or six times a day and then sacrificing their time, their petrol, sometimes they even make the dumplings for the people who are under self-quarantine because they feel sorry for them.
“The news travelled really fast, I didn’t really do any advertising.”
‘Sense of duty’ behind group’s creation
One of those in self-isolation is Terry Zhang, who went to Beijing for the Spring Festival with his family.
As soon as he came back to Adelaide, his family had to go into isolation.
“We came back late at night and didn’t have anything in the fridge. I tried to order with Coles but they can only deliver the next day,” Mr Zhang said.
“After I sent a message to the group, three people volunteered to help me with groceries.
“I was so touched. I never expected people would be so nice.
“We never met before. [One] even brought us her homemade dumplings and left them all outside my yard.”
Ms Leong said she felt compelled to do something as soon as she heard people would have to be in isolation for a fortnight.
“It is a sense of duty and also I’m really happy, in fact, all of us are happy doing that,” she said.
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