Coronavirus: Uber tells all drivers to wear face masks

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Coronavirus: Uber tells all drivers to wear face masks

An AA engineer installing a perspex screen in a taxi Picture copyright Uber
Image caption An AA engineer putting in a perspex display in a taxi for Uber

Uber drivers and passengers in most nations should wear face masks from subsequent week as the ride-hailing agency toughens its coronavirus policy.

The new rule takes impact on Monday.

It applies to providers within the US, Canada, Mexico, India and most of Europe, Latin America, the Center East and Africa.

But the UK just isn't on the listing, following government steerage which advises but doesn't require individuals to wear face coverings in confined areas.

Though it isn't making it compulsory to wear a face mask in the UK, Uber stated it had distributed free protecting gear to UK drivers, together with more than one million single-use face masks, as well as 95,000 cleaning sprays. Within the coming weeks, it'll hand out another two million masks.

"In addition to working with Unilever to offer drivers with free sanitising products, Uber is distributing tens of millions of masks and immediately reimbursing drivers if they select to source the PPE themselves," an Uber spokesman informed the BBC.

On the similar time, Uber, along with taxi firm Addison Lee, has introduced new security measures as the federal government seems to be to ease coronavirus restrictions and other people return to work.

Addison Lee will fit perspex partition screens between drivers and passengers throughout its 4,000 automobiles subsequent week.

And Uber is paying the AA to install partitions in 400 automobiles in Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham as a part of an initial pilot.

Image copyright Getty Photographs
Picture caption United Personal Hire Drivers union needs it to be obligatory for both drivers and passengers to wear masks during journeys

"We know there's vital demand from drivers, passengers, businesses and most of the people for extra to be completed to make transport cleaner and safer as we go back to work - together with requires the introduction of partition screens into personal rent automobiles," stated Liam Griffin, chief government of London-based Addison Lee.

"That is why we have now taken the choice to start rolling out the installation of security screens between drivers and passenger seats."

Uber stated its pilot within the North East of England was essential for the corporate to get a better understanding of methods to carry passengers on journeys as safely as potential.

Uber is first trialling the partition screens in areas the place it has been capable of achieve the permission of the regulator or city council, so as to make sure that the screens are put in safely.

On Wednesday, Transport for London (TfL) updated its steerage for taxi and personal hire car companies.

The regulator is advising companies to have drivers and passengers socially distance, with passengers sitting within the again seats of automobiles. It suggested drivers to carry a bottle of hand sanitiser gel in their car that accommodates at the least 60% alcohol.

Nevertheless, on the subject of using personal protecting gear (PPE) akin to face masks, gloves or partition partitions, TfL stated it's waiting to hear from the London Strategic Coordination Group (SCG) on recommendations before mandating further coronavirus prevention and management measures for taxis and personal rent automobiles.

'Lethal mixture'

The BBC understands that quite a few taxi companies in the UK are looking for clarification from the government on well being and safety precautions to take as soon as the lockdown ends, and would like regulation somewhat than advice.

In Wales, taxi drivers told the BBC they experience anxiety with every passenger they pick up, and are still waiting for approval from their local councils before they will make any modifications to their automobiles, comparable to putting in a display.

"Two months into a public well being emergency which has seen personal hire drivers endure one of many highest occupational mortality charges, yet TfL and the Department for Transport (DfT) are nonetheless not taking duty to introduce essential safety controls," James Farrar, chair of the United Personal Hire Drivers commerce body, advised the BBC.

"Poor regulatory requirements and employment misclassification has turn into a deadly combination for desperately exploited drivers."

Image copyright Getty Photographs
Image caption Taxi drivers have lost loads of their revenue through the coronavirus revenue, as cities like Cardiff stand principally abandoned

The commerce physique is equally involved that Uber shouldn't be providing partition screens to its drivers in other elements of the UK, resembling London, which has the most important focus of Uber drivers in the country.

Mr Farrar needs to see Uber decide to limiting bookings to no more than two passengers per car, and to make the sporting of masks obligatory for each drivers and passengers.

For now, there isn't a evidence out there that demonstrates that partitions in taxis will scale back the danger of transmitting the coronavirus.

But there's some evidence that using material face coverings will help to scale back transmission of coronavirus an infection where it isn't potential for individuals to take care of a distance of 2m.

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