Three days into the lockdown, BigBasket promoter K Ganesh, Venkat Narayana, CEO of Prestige group and Juggy Marwaha, MD, JLL, launched FeedmyBangalore to deliver food to 2000-3000 children and their families every day.
Tata Trust has committed Rs 500 crore for Personal Protective Equipment for medical personnel, respiratory systems for treating increasing cases, and testing kits to increase per capita testing.
Healthtech startups Dozee, Qure.ai, Log 9, MyLab have stepped up efforts to fight Covid-19.
Online food markets Swiggy, Zomato, Bigbasket are ensuring seamless delivery of essentials as well as safety and welfare of their delivery partners and their families.
Ride sharing apps Ola, Uber are providing vehicles to help facilitate the transit of healthcare professionals.
Hotel aggregator Oyo has offered rooms for coronavirus patients to stay in isolation.
Healthcare workers are not lone warriors battling the devastating Covid. India Inc is fighting alongside through its donations, innovations and morale boosting applause.
Innovation in healthcare
Indian businesses and startups have risen to the Covid challenge, and are innovating at a rapid pace.
Pune-based molecular diagnostic company Mylab has received a nod for its Covid-19 diagnostic test kits, which will be priced at Rs 1200. Minal Dakhave Bhosale, the Chief Research Officer, is the brainchild behind this kit that is set to bring down the time taken to get Covid-19 results.
mFine, based out of Bengaluru, has created an AI-powered tool to enable virtual medical consultation to check patients who have flu-like symptoms. Using the tool, doctors can figure if the patient needs immediate medical attention. More than 7,000 patients have been consulted and an increasing number of patients are being assessed every day.
Engineers of Mahindra Group have developed a low-cost ventilator prototype, likely to cost around Rs 7,500.
Dozee, a healthcare startup has created a medical device that can be used for medical-grade remote monitoring of vital parameters, including heart rate and respiratory rate.
Sequoia-backed Qure.ai has partnered with San Raffaele University Hospital to come up with new solutions that automatically read and interpret chest X-ray scans for Covid-19, within minutes. The tool can also indicate how much of the patient’s lungs have been affected. Qure.ai has a presence in over 20 countries and the startup claims over 600,000 people have used its services.
Log9, on the other hand, has a device that can completely neutralise Covid-19 and other pathogens on the surface of masks, hospital equipment and groceries within minutes.
Food delivery warriors
With blue-collar workers at a high risk of losing their jobs, Swiggy has announced a relief fund called Swiggy Hunger Saviour Covid Relief Fund, which will be used to ensure the safety and welfare of its delivery partners and their families.
The food delivery startup aims to raise Rs 10 crore for this fund; as of now, Rs 4 crore has already been collected through contributions from Swiggy’s founders and other employees.
The company also plans to deliver food and essentials to daily wage workers from partner restaurants.
Zomato has entered the grocery delivery space with Zomato Market to deliver essentials to citizens under lockdown. Currently this hyperlocal delivery service is operational in Delhi, Punjab and Kerala. The foodtech unicorn has also announced the launch of a Gold Support Fund to support millions of restaurant workers across India.
Bigbasket, to handle the high demand for essentials, has tied up with cab aggregator service Uber for its last mile delivery service. To ensure seamless delivery of essentials, Bigbasket is looking at hiring 10,000 people for its warehouses and last-mile delivery.
Amazon is delivering from AmazonFresh in the four metropolitan cities, and from Amazon Pantry in 100-plus cities.
Cab hailing and car rental services doing their bit
Ever since the 21-day lockdown, cab drivers attached to ride sharing apps, many of whom had taken loans to run the business, are incurring huge losses.
To help driver partners get instant access to cash in their bank account, Ola has launched Sahyog, an interest-free micro-credit programme. Working in partnership with fintech startup Avail Finance, Sahyog offers pre-approved credit of Rs 3,600 to be disbursed over three weeks.
Ola has also agreed to give 500 vehicles to the government to help facilitate the transit of healthcare professionals, senior citizens, government officials and quick response teams.
Revv, a self-drive car rental startup has set aside 1,000 cars for free-of-cost travel for doctors and healthcare professionals. The service will be initially available in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai.
Droom, online marketplace for used vehicles, has introduced a service that uses a special anti microbial coating to protect first responders. It has sanitised the Gurugram Police’s fleet of cars and motorcycles with its Germ Shield.
Drones put in service
General Aeronautics, a Bangalore based startup, has deployed drones across the city to spray disinfectants. The disinfectant is a mixture of sanitiser and bleaching powder, and is also being sprayed in areas where garbage has piled up.
Hospitality industry offering quarantine services
Oyo is offering its hotels and homes to provide free stay to doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and others who are doing everything to combat the spread of coronavirus. It has reached out to over 15 embassies to support stranded foreign tourists and travellers from the US, Brazil, Belgium, Portugal, Australia, and Indonesia.
CEO of Oyo, Ritesh Agarwal will also forego his salary for a year, while the executive leadership team will take voluntary pay cuts to help Corona Warriors.
Apollo Hospital has launched Project Stay I, by partnering with Zomato, Oyo, Biocon, Lemon Tree and Ginger Hotels, to add 5,000 rooms for coronavirus patients to stay in isolation. Mahindra Holidays has also offered its resorts for temporary care facilities.
Mumbai’s iconic Taj Mahal, owned by Tata Group, is providing free stay to health workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The company is also offering accommodation at its other luxury properties in Mumbai, and in UP.
Tough times ahead
As the number of cases are beginning to rise, it is imperative to safeguard these Corona Warriors. They face a huge risk of contracting the infection and are putting their lives at risk all the time to keep others safe. The government has announced a stimulus package of Rs 50 lakh insurance cover per person for the next three months. The package is likely to benefit two million health workers and ancillary workers.
As the fight against Covid grows stronger, it’s time to support these warriors by practicing ‘social distancing’. They are keeping us safe, it’s time for us to return the favour!