Enterprises across the board — including Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Oppo and Vivo — are extending support in India’s fight against COVID-19, donating oxygenators, breathing machines and ventilators amid the deadly second wave of the pandemic in the country. Amazon India on Tuesday said it has procured 100 ventilators through its global resources to immediately import these into the country. The company has worked with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to ensure the ventilators are of acceptable technical specification and carried out its own compatibility checks to immediately fund 100 units of the Medtronic (MT) device and bring them into India for urgent use.
Amazon, in a blog post, said it will work closely with MT for these units to be airlifted into India and the consignment is expected to reach in the next two weeks. Amazon India is working closely with the MoHFW appointed agencies to finalise the hospitals with the most urgent need so that Amazon can partner with MT for end-to-end delivery, installation, maintenance and training of personnel who will use these machines. “We hugely appreciate the quick response from the MoHWF to help identify the most compatible models, expediting the shipment import into India and for coordination with agencies of MoHFW to allocate these where they are needed most. “We are doing more and are committed to support our country in the fight against COVID-19,” Amazon Global SVP and Country Head India Amit Agarwal said.
India is registering a record number of COVID-19 cases daily that has put extreme pressure on the healthcare infrastructure of the country. The number of new coronavirus infections touched 3,23,144 cases and 2,771 fatalities, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Tuesday morning. The massive rise in infections in the second wave of the pandemic has led to hospitals in several states reeling under a severe shortage of medical oxygen and beds. Social media timelines are filled with SOS calls with people looking for oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, plasma donors and ventilators. Organisations across the spectrum have come forward to support the fight against the COVID pandemic. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said the company is working with UNICEF and giving USD 10 million to emergency response efforts. “I’m thinking of everyone in India and hoping we get this virus under control soon. Facebook is working with UNICEF to help people understand when they should go to the hospital and giving USD 10 million to emergency response efforts,” he said in a post on the social media platform.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, in a separate post, said the company is providing support to those on the ground who are working to stop the spread of the virus. “I started my career working in India for the World Bank in my 20s and working and visiting there has been part of my life ever since. Talking to my colleagues, seeing the images, and reading the reports about the latest COVID wave in India is absolutely devastating… “I have nothing but admiration for the Indian frontline health workers, emergency responders, and volunteers who are doing everything they can to care for people and keep each other safe…,” she added. Like his global peers, Apple CEO Tim Cook also pledged support towards relief efforts. “Amid a devastating rise of COVID cases in India, our thoughts are with the medical workers, our Apple family and everyone there who is fighting through this awful stage of the pandemic. Apple will be donating to support and relief efforts on the ground,” Cook tweeted. Google’s India-origin CEO Sundar Pichai had said the company and its employees are providing Rs 135 crore in funding to GiveIndia, UNICEF and other organisations to support the efforts. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had stated his company will continue to use its resources and technology for relief efforts and support for buying oxygen devices.
Oppo said it will donate 1,000 oxygenators and 500 breathing machines worth Rs 4.3 crore to the Indian Red Cross Society and the Uttar Pradesh government, and that these machines will be delivered to the hospitals where the need is highest. The Chinese smartphone company is also donating 5,000 units of Oppo Band Style worth Rs 1.5 crore to frontline warriors of the Delhi Police and Greater Noida Authority to help them monitor their health. Its peer Vivo said it will donate Rs 2 crore to aid COVID-19 relief efforts and help acquire oxygen concentrators. “We are all in this together, and we must fight as a unit to defeat COVID-19. Vivo is committed to providing support to the communities in these testing times. This small contribution will help save many lives,” Vivo India Director (Brand Strategy) Nipun Marya said in a statement. WazirX founder Nischal Shetty, in a LinkedIn post, had said the company will donate Rs 8 crore for COVID relief. Dhruvil Sanghvi, CEO of LogiNext (a global technology and automation company), said the startup community in Mumbai has reached out to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to offer logistics support for oxygen delivery.
“LogiNext is in the process of launching a service in collaboration with over 50 delivery platforms in the country to help deliver oxygen cylinders, which should be ready to go live by early next week. The service will integrate an oxygen delivery option in addition to the regular delivery requirements that the platforms address,” Sanghvi added. Founders of sRide – a carpooling app – have launched ”sNeighbour” app that enables community-level engagement to seek and offer help during these difficult times. The location-based discovery app will enable users to help others with cooked food, groceries, medicines, to share information about things such as medicines, oxygen tanks, hospital beds, vaccination centres with vaccines, offering rides to vaccination centres etc. Global software firms EPAM and ThoughtWorks have joined the cause and are encouraging their employees to use the platform to provide and seek help as required.