Covid-19 lockdown: Flipkart suspends operations temporarily

New Delhi Mar 25: Walmart-owned Flipkart on Wednesday said it was suspending its operations temporarily as India entered into a 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

“Consequent to the order issued on March 24 by the Ministry of Home Affairs announcing a 21-day lockdown across India to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus causing Covid-19, we are temporarily suspending our services,” Flipkart said in a blogpost.

The blog further said “we will be back to serve you as soon as possible”.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days, asserting that social distancing is the only way out for the country in its decisive battle against the coronavirus. More than 500 people have tested positive for coronavirus in India with around 10 deaths.

Amazon India had on Tuesday said it has temporarily stopped taking orders and disabled shipment of low-priority products as it focuses on delivery of essential items like household staples, hygiene and other high-priority products.

E-commerce players, including Amazon India and Milkbasket, have been facing disruption in delivery of even essential products to their customers.

The government, however, in its notification has allowed delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment through e-commerce.

Industry watchers have said there is an urgent need for uniform classification of essential items across various states, and that instructions need to flow down clearly to the last mile, where the delivery agents are facing issues.

Industry experts also flagged challenges around movement of delivery personnel and staff, as well as interstate movement of goods amid lockdown across the country.

Some e-commerce players are also urging the government to expand the scope of essential products beyond food items and medicines to include other products, like cable and routers that may be required for customers who are working from home.

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