On the first day of a 21-day lockdown all over India to fight coronavirus, Walmart Inc’s Flipkart has suspended all its services today. The company issued a notice on its website announcing the shut down.
The announcement comes just a few hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the lockdown from Tuesday midnight. However, a government advisory suggested exempting e-commerce deliveries of essentials such as food and medical equipment in addition to grocery stores and banks.
The company did not make clear how long the suspension would last. The notice said, “Our promise is that we will be back to serve you, as soon as possible.”
Another major pantry service provider of India, Amazon, is also unavailable in several cities. Amazon in a statement said it will halt orders for non-essential products, giving priority to customers’ critical needs such as household staples, packaged food, healthcare, hygiene, personal safety and other high priority products. Amazon didn’t mention about suspending the services.
Many people started to panic and store grocery items as the ban came into effect. Before PM Modi’s announcement, several Indian cities started imposing curfews keeping normal the flow of essential services. Another important online grocery service, BigBasket said their services have been impacted.
The Alibaba-backed online grocer said in a statement, “We are working with the local authorities for the passes and permits that allow movement of personnel and vehicles involved.”