Ola, uber, Swiggy Zomato and others: How these unicorns are trying to fight coronavirus

Simran Kashyap

New Delhi, July 06: Facing severe business loss due to the nationwide lockdown, top ride-hailing, food delivery and hospitality companies, as well as mid-stage startups are scrambling to spread awareness against the disease and protect their employees. And one of the most proactive measures seems to be coming from the apps in India.

Oyo, Paytm, Ola, Swiggy, Zomato, Uber, among others, have reached out have announced several measures to ensure safe deliveries, including 'contactless drop-offs' and safe ride for the commuters.

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Food delivery apps Swiggy and Zomato have introduced several measures to protect their employees including delivery persons from getting infected.

The company is also providing continuous training to its delivery partners with regards to best practices when it comes to respiratory hygiene, the correct frequency and method of hand-washing, and awareness about symptoms associated with the pandemic to ensure easy identification. Both Zomato and Swiggy have been in contact with restaurants as well to ensure the latter are following all health codes and aware of the best hygiene practices while handling and packaging food items.

Similar arrangements have been made by Zomato, which is utilising multiple channels of communication to sensitise other employees and users as well as delivery partners. The food delivery app has been utilising its partner apps as well as SMS services to broadcast WHO best practices among other important information such as COVID-19 testing laboratory locations as issued by the Ministry of Health.

Fast-food chains Dominos and McDonald's have also introduced 'zero contact' food delivery services. The delivery partner will leave the food outside the door and call the customer to confirm the pick up.

Other online platforms like BigBasket, Flipkart and Grofers too urged their customers to move to digital payments.

Also, ride-hailing cab aggregators Uber and Ola had provided a hundred cabs with each to serve as emergency care vehicles during the ongoing lockdown.

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The cabs were earlier used for the moving of patients from home to hospital and hospital to home and not for other medical emergencies including the transport of suspected or positive COVID-19 cases.

They also released their COVID-19 guidelines in India to protect both drivers and passengers amid the pandemic and subsequent nationwide lockdown.

Both cab aggregators have also capped the number of passengers in their cars to two, both only in the rear passenger seat.

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