In December 2019, China became ground zero for the coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic. And now in March, it has become a global epidemic, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) announcing it as a public health emergency of international concern. The coronavirus epidemic has now gained ground in Europe and the UK which has led to major fall in stock markets, at a time when global tech giants have also recognised the impact. However, Indian unicorns with an international presence — Ola and OYO — have not yet taken official steps to brace for impact in Europe.
While hospitality giant OYO had made plans for tackling the coronavirus in China, where it has a major presence, the company is yet to formulate a plan of action for European markets where it is present in.
Ola, on the other hand, which recently launched in London amid much fanfare, has strengthened its presence in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. All these countries are currently under pandemic regulations where the governments have taken up the charge to control the spread. However, an Ola spokesperson told Inc42 that the company has no comments in this regard at this moment.
To put it in context, many governments around the world have put cities in lockdown, travel restrictions are in place leading to disarrayed global trade, commerce, tourism and investment.
OYO, meanwhile, is present in over 80 countries, which includes major countries in Europe and the UK. In February, OYO chief Ritesh Agarwal had written that the company had taken steps like work from home, procured masks for OYO employees, support reasonable hotel closure etc for the outbreak in China.
But since then, there has been no update about the steps the company has been taking for the same. An OYO spokesperson told Inc42, “We continue to monitor and track the situation and are taking appropriate measures as mentioned.” However, OYO didn’t further elaborate on the processes or operational mechanisms put in place for other countries where it has operations.
Here’s the latest update on coronavirus in some of these major OYO markets including Europe:
- US: The total number of confirmed cases in the US is more than 75 with two reported deaths
- UK: The total number of coronavirus cases in the UK have reached 40. The government will announce the plan for coronavirus tomorrow
- Europe: There have been 2,199 cases overall, and 38 deaths reported in the 18 member states due to coronavirus
- Australia: Australia now has 30 patients who have been diagnosed with coronavirus, including the first confirmed cases of community transmission
- New Zealand: Cabinet has extended travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus outbreak after 1 positive test and 140 people have been tested for the same
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has said that an escalation in the coronavirus outbreak could cut global economic growth in half and plunge several countries into recession this year.