Coronavirus

India’s Quarantine Prompts Walmart’s Flipkart To Halt Operations

india, lockdown, walmart, flipkart, coronavirus, closures, deliveries, groceries

Walmart’s Flipkart has stopped all services in India as the government orders people to stay inside for at least three weeks due to the coronavirus, a Reuters report indicated on Tuesday (March 24). 

A notice on Flipkart’s eCommerce site said, “These are difficult times like no other” and urged people to stay home, with a reassurance: “We will be back up soon.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi started the lockdown at midnight on Tuesday (March 24). A notice from the government advised that it should allow deliveries of necessities ordered online — food and medicine — in addition to financial institutions.

Amazon Pantry in India is also down in several locations, but the eCommerce giant did not officially announce a suspension of deliveries. It is, however, prioritizing necessities and suspending delivery of non-essential items.

The announcement triggered long lines at supermarkets as shoppers panicked to get their hands on food and staples. 

Some cities in India were already starting curfews before Modi’s announcement of a lockdown. Varying local orders triggered a state of chaos and ended up disrupting all deliveries.

“We are working with the local authorities for the passes and permits that allow movement of personnel and vehicles involved,” Alibaba-backed online grocer BigBasket said in a statement.

Sociologist Aditi Surie said in The Hindu that people are putting their health at risk in order to bring necessities to people. Companies are currently not offering any provisions to delivery help or gig workers. Some businesses are only offering insurance if people get infected with the virus.

So far, mobility platforms in the country have not said loans and rental fees would be waived for lease drivers.

Tech companies are acting quickly to install updates and new programs to help people stay safe and informed as the coronavirus continues its worldwide spread. 

Google, for instance, has updated its search engine for more specific details and resources regarding the virus. In India, popular social media app WhatsApp has engineered the “MyGov Corona Helpdesk” for all citizens to turn to for information and resources regarding the virus.

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