Uber joins fight against coronavirus pandemic by offering contact tracing service
Monday, 20 July 2020 Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE:UBER), the ride-hailing giant, is reportedly playing its part in the fight to halt the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) by sharing data on passengers and drivers with public health officials. The free service from Uber is being touted to government health officials in all countries where the app operates, according to a Reuters report on Monday. READ: Uber to snap up takeaway app Postmates in all-stock deal The portal can provide data, accessible within just a few hours, about who has used Uber and when, and who may have been infected by the virus, which then allows health agencies to urge affected users into quarantine. Health officials are then prompted to specify what action they want Uber to take. Though Uber has provided the data for months now, and has received around 560 coronavirus-related requests from public health departments in 29 countries, it has not been used in many US virus hotspots. Uber executives reportedly flew to Los Angeles in January this year to meet with the local health department and CDC officials to discuss how the firm's data could best be used. "We want to make sure that they are the experts and we follow their recommendations” on whether to block temporarily a driver, rider or courier from using Uber’s service," Uber’s chief of global law enforcement Mike Sullivan was quoted by Reuters as saying. Uber customers with a confirmed infection are automatically blocked from the platform for at least 14 days. Uber shares in New York nudged up 0.83% on Monday to stand at US$32.82 each.
Uber Technologies told Reuters it has quietly launched a service to give public health officials quick access to data on drivers and riders presumed to have come into contact with someone infected with COVID-19. Fred Katayama reports.
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