Uber to suspend coronavirus sufferers accounts

Cab service plans to temporarily suspend accounts of drivers and delivery drivers who have been in contact with sufferers

FILE PHOTO: Uber's logo is pictured at its office in Bogota, Colombia, December 12, 2019. Picture taken December 12, 2019. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez/File Photo

Uber says it may temporarily suspend accounts of drivers and couriers diagnosed with coronavirus and of those who have been in contact with sufferers.

The company sent an email to UK customers on Wednesday advising of the changes and said it was working closely with public health services.

It warned people self-isolating to stay at home and requested they ask for food deliveries to be left on their doorsteps.

It comes as the UK's death toll has reached eight and the number of confirm cases has risen to 460.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to move the UK into the next phase of containment when he holds an emergency meeting on Thursday.

In an email to customers, Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said: "The safety and well-being of everyone who uses Uber is always our priority.

"We are actively monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and are taking steps to help keep our communities safe.
"We have a team available 24⁄7 to support public health authorities in their response to the epidemic. Working with them, we may temporarily suspend the accounts of users confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19. We're also consulting with an epidemiologist to make sure our efforts as a company are grounded in medical advice."

He said if Uber drivers are diagnosed or asked to isolate by a public health authority they will be given financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold.

The firm says it is trying to provide drivers with disinfectants to help them keep their cars clean but due to limited supplies is "prioritising distribution to drivers in cities with the greatest need".
Mr Khosrowshahi added: "We understand that you may be relying more on food delivery right now. If you prefer, you can leave a note in the Uber Eats app to ask your courier to leave your food at your door.

"We're reminding everyone who uses Uber to follow guidance from public health authorities. If you're sick, stay home and away from others."
The firm has told its US office-based employees to work from home until early April to help stem the spread of the virus.

There are now more than 10,000 cases in Italy and more than 1,000 in the US.

On Thursday both Norway and Ireland announced they will be closing all schools.