The global outbreak of COVID-19 or the new coronavirus that has claimed 10,080 lives, including five in India, has lead to the government taking preventive measures like curfews, banning public gatherings, halting international flights, shutting down offices and schools, and encouraging people to practice ‘social distancing’.

Healthcare startup GOQii on Thursday said that social distancing has lead to a 51% drop in footfall, based on real-time step count data. Its latest study has found that the Kerala government’s prompt response has made the state display the highest drop of 62%, as on March 17th while Maharashtra with the highest number of reported cases, has seen a drop of 49% in footfall.

“This is a good sign. The Kerala Government has taken all possible timely measures to contain the spread of this infectious disease. The drop in step count started earlier in Kerala due to the initial cases starting from the state,” GOQii said in its study.

GOQii looked at the real-time step count data collected by more than 5 lakh users using their activity trackers. “These results have indicated, the average daily step count of Indians has reduced by 51% across the country,” GOQii said in a statement. The average has dropped from 6,432 steps on March 2 to 3,146 steps on March 17.

It said that the drop in average daily step count is due to a combination of reasons like the call for social distancing by the government, fear of stepping out into crowded spaces and public transport vehicles, closure of malls, cinema halls, places of worship, gyms, etc., and work from home to contain the spread of the virus.

“Social distancing is going to be the key phrase that is going to remain for the next few weeks to come,” Vishal Gondal, founder and CEO, GOQii said.

State-wise, Kerala has seen the highest drop, followed by 55% in Chattisgarh which has no reported cases of the virus. Maharashtra, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have also seen a big drop. Uttarakhand with one positive case has reported 48% drop followed by Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat at 47% and 45% respectively. Delhi recorded 12 cases, and a drop of 44% in footfall. Amongst the states to record the lowest drop were Haryana with 17 reported cases, at 34%, followed by Jharkhand and Rajasthan at 35% and 36% respectively. West Bengal with one positive case saw a 40% drop, and both Uttar Pradesh with 16 cases and Orissa with one case saw a 41% drop, according to the study.

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