- Uber Medic services by Uber India
- Social Distancing Through Smartphones
- Airbnb to pay $250M to the hosts to cover cancellation costs due to COVID crisis
- Ecommerce companies start clearing the backlog
Uber Medic services by Uber India
The ride-hailing company Uber on Tuesday said that it had launched a new service, ‘UberMedic,’ to help transport frontline healthcare workers to the medical facilities and other critical areas across India. Uber is providing a new service called UberMedic to transport frontline healthcare workers and help the government contain the spread of COVID-19 in India.
Working closely with the network of hospitals and leveraging the global experience and technology, UberMedic allows hospitals to easily and reliably arrange the transportation for doctors and other health workers to and from their respective homes, as well as to the health care facilities, Uber India and South Asia President Pradeep Parameswaran said in a statement. With the implementation of the 21-day lockdown, the government has allowed only people in essential services like healthcare, banking, and media to commute. Limited mobility options have made it difficult for these people to travel to their workplace.
Social Distancing Through Smartphones
To bring sales of smartphones back on the track, players like Xiaomi and Realme are requesting our government to classify smartphones as an essential commodity during this 21-day lockdown in the country.
The top smartphone manufacturers are asking the government to allow ecommerce sales of their respective devices. The sales of smartphones have been extremely impacted as e-commerce companies are only focussing their efforts around essential items, while retail outlets are shut. In these times, smartphones have surely become the gateway to other services. For example, people would need access to smartphones to order groceries, pay digitally, and to connect to others via social media platforms.
Realme chief executive Madhav Sheth said that smartphones are vital to avail of some of the essential services that have been allowed by the government. He also believes that the company could make its devices available to customers immediately through online channels.
Airbnb to pay $250M to the hosts to cover cancellation costs due to COVID crisis
In a letter to the stakeholders, Brian Chesky, Co-founder of Airbnb, has outlined a set of unicorn’s plans to tackle this coronavirus crisis, which has devastated the world economy. Amid the travel restrictions in many parts of the world aimed at slowing impact of COVID-19, Airbnb has updated the Extenuating Circumstances policy through which the guests who made reservations before March 14 – beginning on or before May 31 – can cancel them, and get the full refund or travel credit if they are impacted by the COVID-19 and thus, can’t travel.
Airbnb has set aside $250 million for the hosts to help cover cost of COVID-19 cancellations. It will pay the hosts 25 percent of what they would have received normally through the cancellation policy. This applies retroactively to all the COVID-19 related cancellations from March 14 to May 31. Guests with the reservations booked on or before March 14 will still be able to cancel and receive a standard refund or the travel credit equivalent to 100 percent of what they initially paid. The cost will be recovered entirely by Airbnb. The payments will begin to be issued in the month of April. Guests can also go to airbnb.com/250msupport for further details. Guests can also directly send a note along with the contribution to any of the hosts who they have previously stayed with.
Ecommerce companies start clearing the backlog
Ecommerce companies like Amazon and Grofers are gradually resuming services across various cities they operate in, but this will take at least one week or so to clear the pending orders, according to industry executives. Ecommerce companies have been struggling to deliver orders after the government ordered 21-day lockdown, to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, came into effect. With local authorities shutting down warehouses and stopping trucks from crossing state borders, ecommerce players have seen their operations getting disrupted.
The company has now waived off order delay and cancellation penalties (charged at three to seven percent) for merchants until April 22. Another challenge facing the industry is the availability of limited staff for warehouses and logistics. “Due to the lockdown, our delivery partners had also gone home for a few days. We are now requesting them to come back with us…We are also trying to scale up our operations by working with delivery partners from other companies who have come forward to help us,” Grofers said.
The company is also working with the local authorities to get passes for its staff that will allow them to continue operations and make deliveries. For large players like Amazon India, too, it has been a difficult time. The company has resumed deliveries in select cities and is working on first serving existing orders and for essential products that have been purchased using prepaid methods.