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Tech companies take steps against COVID-19


Apple announced that it is evaluating COVID-19 coronavirus-related apps critically to ensure “ensure data sources are reputable” and only apps from recognised entities including government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions will be allowed on the App Store. Entertainment and gaming apps themed around COVID-19 will not be allowed.

Non-profit organisations, accredited educational institutions, and government entities can distribute free apps on the App Store, and have request to have their $99 annual membership on the Apple Developer Program waived, if based in an eligible country.

GOQii yesterday launched what it calls its ‘Contact Tracking’ feature, to help users track every movement, activity, and people who have been in close contact with them. This will help with the WHO recommended social distancing, the company claimed.

Users can essentially ‘self-track’; users can maintain a log of every person they met, location of the meeting, with a date and timestamp, name, and phone number of the person, and so on. GOQii said it also enable users to track symptoms related to coronavirus and distinguishing symptoms including headache, cough, cold, flu and difficulty in breathing etc.

GOQii app follows the privacy policy. The data logged by the user is private to the user. The privacy settings in the app let the users decide whether they want to share their logs publicly, with just their friends or keep them visible only to themselves.

Swiggy said in an email to customers that it is training its delivery partners in respiratory hygiene, the proper method and frequency of hand-washing, and identifying symptoms. Delivery partners who face symptoms are being asked to reach out to the company and consult a medical professional. “We are providing them free medical consultation through our partners in such cases,” Swiggy said.

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Delivery partners have been advised to self-quarantine is case they notice any symptoms. Swiggy said it is “committed to supporting them financially in such situations”. It is in touch with restaurants to ensure that “they are aware of the best hygiene practices while handling and packaging food”. In case users are feeling unwell or prefer it, they can ask delivery partners to leave the package  by the door – in cases of online payment.

Dunzo has also enabled a ‘No Contact Delivery’ option for users, where delivery partners will leave orders at the doorstep, per an email to customers. Partners are being informed and trained on “various precautionary measures” such as no-contact delivery. Dunzo said they may be scarcity of a few items, due to heavy demand for certain items.

Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal said that users would now have the option to tell delivery agents to drop deliveries off instead of handing them over. He added that delivery agents were being sent routine government advisories on COVID-19. “We’ll support our delivery partners with financial assistance, on top of medical insurance in case they are diagnosed with COVID-19,” Goyal promised, in case they feel forced to continue to work for financial reasons.

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I cover health, policy issues such as intermediary liability, data governance, internet shutdowns, and more. Hit me up for tips.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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