In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, rideshare companies Lyft and Uber say they are “taking action” to ensure drivers and riders are staying healthy.
Lyft says it has distributed more than 200,000 bottles of hand sanitizers and other cleaning supplies to drivers for free. If a rider or driver tests positive for coronavirus, they will be “temporarily suspended” from using Lyft until they receive medical clearance.
Lyft also promises to provide compensation to drivers who are diagnosed or put under quarantine.
“This helps support drivers financially when they can’t drive, while also protecting our riders’ health,” said the company. “We will continue to take actions necessary to help protect the community.”
Uber has also taken similar actions, implementing measures for financial assistance and distributing hand sanitizers to drivers.
“Supplies are very limited, but we’re partnering with manufacturers and distributors to source as much as possible,” said Uber. “We’ll be prioritizing distribution to drivers in cities with the greatest need.”
The company says it is also working an epidemiologist to “make sure our efforts as a company are grounded in medical advice.”
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the outbreak to be a pandemic.
The term pandemic refers to states of disease that sharply increase in populations around the world with infections taking place more or less simultaneously.
According to WHO Director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, there are now over 118,000 cases of the virus in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have died.