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Uber backs Sri Lanka health workers battling Coronavirus

ECONOMYNEXT- Ride-share firm Uber has introduced a program to provide up to 8.5 million rupees of free rides with 26 cars to top key state hospitals battling Coronavirus and other health ministry agencies, an official said, while health and safety rules had been raised.

The ‘UberMedic’ branded pilot program provides transport to health workers at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) and the National Hospital.

“The UberMedic service is live in two leading public hospitals in Colombo, namely the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) and the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL),”

“Through this service Uber offers free rides to frontline healthcare workers as a part of its global commitment to offer 10 million free rides..,” Pavan Vaish, Head of Central Operations, South Asia, Uber said.

“Apart from these two hospitals, we are also providing this service to the officials from the Health Promotion Bureau to support them in their efforts to contain the pandemic.”

Currently operating with 26 cars with riders providing trips free of charge.

UberMedic was launched to ease the burden of commute for healthcare workers and doctors across hospitals and travel to and from their private residences during curfew when no other public transport was available at hand.

“Uber Sri Lanka expedited the launch of the UberMedic service last month with the provision of 26 cars providing trips free of cost, with top-rated drivers and dedicated cars to hospitals through our platform, ensuring an easy, safe, reliable and efficient transportation option for doctors, nurses and other health care workers,” Vaish said.

“The riders include healthcare workers exclusively from these two public hospitals on these 26 cars we have facilitated.”

Uber said that they are planning to expand their services to other hospitals as well. Vaish said that the customer feedback on the service was positive and strict health regulations were followed.

“Our biggest concern is the safety of our local community,” Vaish said. “This includes our drivers and riders.

To maintain safety and hygiene standards, while moving what matters, drivers will be provided personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, sanitizers and disinfectants to sanitize cars between rides.”

Uber said that they had procured and began distributing 10 million rupees worth of PPE and safety supplies like sanitizer to their drivers.

They had also partnered with Dettol in distributing disinfectants to drivers to further sanitize their vehicles and display in-car education placards with safety advices for riders and drivers.

“As social distancing becomes more commonplace, Uber has made it mandatory for driver partners and riders to wear masks – permitting only two passengers in cars and tuks, besides the driver partner.” (Colombo/Jun10/2020)