India’s startup ecosystem has shown over the years that it’s capable of coming together to solve real problems. And at a time when the world is struggling to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic, some of India’s brightest entrepreneurs have now come together to fight the spread of this deadly virus through unique solutions.
So far, India has registered over 173 positive cases of coronavirus and Covid-19 along with four deaths. As compared to other parts of the world, the situation in India is comparably better, however, this may be a result of inadequate testing. The number of cases is expected to rise significantly in the next week, and efforts are on to ‘flatten the curve’ of cases.
To curb this from getting out of control, around 70 startup founders and investors wrote to the government to enforce a lockdown and forcing citizens into a quarantine — similar to what’s happening in Italy right now. Now, these founders and product managers have teamed up to develop the Quarantine App.
The group of startup founders and investors had suggested that India impose strict lockdowns and Section 144 or curfew law against group gatherings across major cities by March 20 for two weeks.
Vivekananda Hallekere, founder of two-wheeler rental platform Bounce and one of the signatories to the letter, told us the app will help the government track people who have been advised to be under self-quarantine or those have tested positive and are recovering at home in isolation. “With this, the government would be able to track every single quarantined citizen,” he told Inc42.
Organising The Coronavirus Data For India
Hallekere said the app will use location tracking to keep an eye on the movement of those who have been advised to be under self-quarantine or those have tested positive. He said people coming from overseas need to be tracked as they don’t know whether they have been infected or not. Using the application, these people can self-declare themselves as quarantined. “Founders of vernacular knowledge-sharing platform Vokal Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka had proposed this application. It was Radhakrishna’s idea,” Hallekere added.
Besides the app, news aggregating platforms such as DailyHunt and Lokal will be sending notifications and updates related to coronavirus in vernacular languages as well. Some of the entrepreneurs who are part of this team include Cred’s founder Kunal Shah, Snapdeal’s founder Kunal Bahl, Blackbuck’s founder Rajesh Yabaji, Unacademy’s founder Gaurav Munjal, among others.
The team is also working on finding solutions to many other problems such as developing quarantine infrastructure, data-driven analysis and models for India, supply chain management of essential products, and even developing a healthcare capacity for stage three or community transmission of coronavirus.
Hallekere gave an example of the Singapore government which is conducting surprise raids at homes of people who are advised to be under self-quarantine. But in India, this solution is not quite affordable for the government and that’s why an application like this will let users update their location to the government. Users under self-quarantine will also be asked to routinely upload photographs from inside their homes, he added.
All the data generated from this application will be publically available on a government platform which is developed by the team of startups and founders
“The data will help people to know where people, who are under self-quarantine, are staying. It’ll also have the travel history of these people which will help others to avoid those places,” Hallekere added.