"Walmart and Flipkart have already secured 300,000 N95 masks and 1 million medical gowns, and they will continue to leverage their global supply chains to source these critical necessities for medical workers...," a statement said.
Walmart Inc, Walmart Foundation and Flipkart on Saturday said they are are supporting India's COVID-19 response by donating personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and funds for organisations providing essential relief materials to farmers and small businesses.
Walmart Inc and e-commerce major Flipkart will spend Rs 38.3 crore towards in-kind donations into India to help with the front-line response efforts, a statement said.
"The companies will focus on providing PPE, such as N95 masks and medical gowns, for distribution by non-government organizations (NGOs) to public healthcare workers."
"Walmart and Flipkart have already secured 300,000 N95 masks and 1 million medical gowns, and they will continue to leverage their global supply chains to source these critical necessities for medical workers...," it added.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
In addition, Walmart Foundation is donating a total of Rs 7.7 crore to Goonj and Srijan -- NGOs supporting vulnerable communities through the crisis.
The funds will be used to support the procurement of essential relief materials, such as food, medicine and hygiene items, for distribution by the organisations to support farmers, rural communities, and the micro-businesses, the statement said.
"Our customers and associates in India have been deeply impacted by COVID-19 and our hearts continue to be with them. In times like these, we all need to come together to support our communities and the efforts of healthcare workers, NGOs and government organisations," Walmart Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, and President of Walmart Foundation Kathleen McLaughlin said.
The statement noted that Walmart and Flipkart are making various efforts, including following enhanced hygiene practices across the supply chain and delivery network, insurance and health benefits for workers, contactless deliveries where possible and supporting cashless payments.
"Our Flipkart teams are working around the clock to respond to the COVID-19 crisis with care and compassion...The emergency relief efforts we are announcing today underscore our commitment to continuing to work with the private and public sector in India to respond to this unprecedented challenge,” Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said.
Corporate India has been rushing in to help the government and citizens fight the pandemic.
Tata Trusts and Tata group together have pledged Rs 1,500 crore, while Wipro Ltd, Wipro Enterprises Ltd and Azim Premji Foundation have together committed Rs 1,125 crore. A number of other companies have extended support by providing sanitisers, masks and meals to people.
Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.