Startup community urge PMO & health ministry for a lockdown across major cities, Technology News, ETtech

Illustration: Rahul Awasthi
Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

India’s startup community has urged various government bodies, including the Prime Minister’s Office and the health ministry, as well as state governments, to impose a lockdown across major cities for two-three weeks.

“Our data modelling suggests that a lock-down now vs. 30 days later might help save 5 times more lives in just 90 days,” according to a petition by a group of founders and investors.

Startups such as Urban Company, Bounce, Udhyam Learning Foundation, Cred, Snapdeal, MyGate, Vokal, Unacademy, 1MG, among others, as well as investors including Matrix Partners, Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, have supported the findings of the report. ET has a copy of the report.

The report highlighted that countries that have acted early and strongly — South Korea, Singapore, and Japan — are able to “flatten the curve” and have brought down cases of Covid-19 compared to those that waited, such as Iran, Italy, France, and the United States.

The founders suggested another planned lock-down in May, “to ensure that we do not see a second peak after initial restrictions are lifted.”

“In 1918 Flu, Denver saw a second peak after quickly loosening restrictions,” the report added.

The startups also pointed out that the lockdowns would have economic and social cost, and steps need to be taken to prepare well, including maintaining supply chain for essentials like food, medicines, and the setting up a government war room headed by the Chief Minister in each state, as well as scaling up testing infrastructure and rapid testing capacity.

“Learnings from Wuhan in China show that actual undiagnosed cases are typically 5-20x of diagnosed cases,” the document said.

As of Tuesday, 126 people have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus in India. The death toll in the country stood at 3, till press-time Tuesday.

Another 54,000 people across the country are under community surveillance through health workers, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan informed the Rajya Sabha.

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