Uber have announced that they will suspend drivers for 14-days if they are found to have been diagnosed with coronavirus, but will offer ‘financial assistance’.
In response to the outbreak, Uber now have a team available day and night to support public health authorities in their response to the epidemic.
This team, working alongside local health authorities, may “temporarily suspend the accounts of riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19”.
For drivers suspended from the app, Uber have offered some ‘financial assistance’ for up to 14 days. It is however currently unknown what level that assistance amounts to.
The ride-hailing firm has also offered to supply cleaning products to the most needy drivers, based on where in the world the virus is hitting hardest. It is unlikely that UK drivers will receive these products at the current time.
An Uber spokesperson wrote in a statement to drivers: “Any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold.
“We’ve already helped drivers in some affected areas, and we’re working to quickly implement this worldwide.”
Uber’s spokesperson added: “We are working to provide drivers with disinfectants to help you keep your car clean. Supplies are very limited, but we’re partnering with manufacturers and distributors to source as much as possible. We’ll be prioritizing distribution to drivers in cities with the greatest need.”
In a statement released earlier this week by the United Private Hire Drivers’ (UPHD), they suggested that there could be a significant risk to public health during the current coronavirus crisis unless urgent action is taken by the government, local authorities and minicab operators.
Yaseen Aslam, General Secretary of UPHD, said: “For too long, illegal and unsafe industry working conditions have been ignored by private hire operators, licensing authorities and central government.
“We now need urgent action on the part of large multinational operators, regulators and the government to protect drivers and the travelling public from the risk of poor industry work practices becoming an accelerant for wider Covid-19 infection.”
Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, said: “The Coronavirus risk has thrown into sharp relief just how vulnerable workers in the gig economy are to bouts of illness and the resulting loss of pay. Many drivers will feel compelled to carry on working when they’re unwell, potentially putting themselves and others at risk.
“Operators must act immediately to reassure drivers and the travelling public that they’ll treat drivers with the fairness, compassion and respect they’re owed.”
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