Covid19 Tech Impact
Latest updates & innovations, in-depth resources, live webinars and guides to help businesses navigate through the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on India's economy.
As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases inches close to five figures, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in consultation with states is expected to finalise the need for extension of the country-wide lockdown on Saturday (April 11). However, UP, Odisha and Punjab have already extended the lockdown in the states and have been working towards containing the further spread of the virus.
While at the same time, testing of coronavirus cases has barely improved and is now at risk of declining. India’s top private diagnostics laboratories are thinking of moving the Supreme Court, seeking to reconsider its order directing free testing for Covid-19 virus infections. The move comes after the apex court asked the government to ensure that private labs conduct the tests free of charge. The companies, including SRL Diagnostics, Max Labs, Dr Lal PathLabs and Core Diagnostics, are also lobbying the government to intervene in the matter, claiming that making the tests free will not be financially viable.
In terms of innovation, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar students have developed a trunk-shaped device fitted with ultraviolet germicidal irradiation technology, which they recommend placing at the doorstep to sanitise deliveries, including grocery and food as well as currency notes. According to the team at IIT Ropar, the trunk when commercialised can be available at less than INR 500 and takes 30 minutes to sanitise items.
At the same time, the government is also leveraging new technologies to control the spread of the virus. The IT ministry has incorporated geo-fencing through mobile phones in its armoury to fight the pandemic. With this technology, the government is keeping track of all the people who have tested positive or have been advised to stay under quarantine. The system not only monitors the breach of the allocated geofence for each patient but also alerts the local health authorities to allow police to track the patient.
Similar apps have also been incorporated by the Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh government to keep a tab on the patients. Further, MeitY has formally enlisted the help of social media platforms for “outreach purposes” of Aarogya Setu app on a “priority basis” in order to reach “all mobile users in India”.
Insurance Against Covid-19
Flipkart in partnership with ICICI Lombard and Digit Insurance announced the launch of health insurance policies on its platform to cover Covid-19. ‘COVID-19 Protection Cover’ by ICICI Lombard provides an instant INR 25,000 benefit plan paid to the customer on a positive diagnosis of the disease.
Additionally, the policy provides health assistance benefit, virtual and teleconsultation benefit and ambulance assistance. ‘Digit Illness Group Insurance’ offered by Digit Insurance allows consumers to avail a hospitalization cover up to a sum assured of INR 1 lakh with an annual premium of INR 511.
Further, digital payments giant Paytm has announced the launch of COVID-19 Benefit Insurance Policy in collaboration with Reliance General Insurance, which provides the widest possible coverage. This insurance plan offers a best-in-class sum assured a maximum of INR 2 Lakh. From covering against positive diagnosis, 14-day quarantine, loss of pay/job, it also offers a waiver to the 45-day travel exclusion policy as an add-on.
Making Masks And Delivery Essentials
Grocery delivery startup Milkbasket has launched a grocery helpline number for senior citizens in Noida, Gurugram, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, providing deliveries of groceries and other daily essentials for those who don’t have a smartphone.
Further, foodtech startup Box8 said it will be accepting app orders for daily essentials including dairy products, vegetables, fruits, bread, grocery, snacks and poultry products, providing 30-minute deliveries in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Gurugram.
Pizza chain Domino’s India franchise owner Jubilant Foodworks has announced the launch of Domino’s Essentials. In partnership with packaged consumer goods major ITC Foods, the delivery infrastructure of Domino’s will be leveraged to help customers order everyday grocery essentials offered by ITC Foods. The service initially began with Bengaluru, followed by Noida, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad.
In a bid to support preventive care, reusable diaper brand Superbottoms is now developing reusable cloth face masks and is serving them to hospitals and other essential service providers in Mumbai on a no-profit basis. Apart from patients in cancer care segment, these masks have been supplied to healthcare support staff working in hospitals which will significantly reduce their exposure to infections.
Amazon Relief Fund And Prosus Donation
Prosus has committed INR 100 Cr to the Indian government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis with the donation towards PM CARES Fund. Further, the company said that its payments portfolio PayU has built a platform to enable any brand in India to start raising funds from its customers for the fund. PayU is also extending its support to NGOs and charities collecting relief donations for Covid-19, by charging zero transaction fees and processing donations at no cost.
To support those who are enabling Amazon India to fulfil customer orders during this time, Amazon has extended the ‘Amazon Relief Fund’ to associates part of its various delivery partners and part-time workers programme and s trucking partners in the event of financial hardships. This fund can be utilised by qualifying individuals who have been quarantined or diagnosed with Covid-19.