Ride hailing firm Uber has temporarily suspended its services in Uganda following the government’s directive halting all public transport services as a measure to help control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Due to the fears brought about by Covid-19, the three East African countries have put in place measures to curb the spread of the virus which has so far over a million people globally with tens of thousands of deaths.
At the moment, it’s only Tanzania where Uber services are operating while in Kenya, the firm is observing the curfew imposed by the government and operating its services between 5am to 6pm.
In a statement, Uber said: “In accordance with the measures announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 25, 2020 to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, we are temporarily pausing our services in Nairobi and Mombasa between 6:00pm and 5:00am, until further notice. The health and safety of our community comes first, and we will do our best to support drivers during these unprecedented times.”
Before the curfew and before the measures to control the virus were put in place, Uber services operated round the clock.
“In Kenya, we are operating between 5am and 6pm… In Uganda we have temporarily paused our services – UberX and Uber Boda – in compliance with government directives to halt all public transport- to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Lorraine Onduru, Uber communications lead for East Africa, adding:
“For now we operate as normal in Tanzania. In all three countries, we are offering support to drivers in terms of education, financial support for 14 days in the event that any of our drivers falls ill, providing hand sanitizers or a one-off cash reimbursement.”
Recently, following the announcement of the 7pm to 5am curfew by the Kenya government, Uber announced various measures meant to help support physical distancing with safety precautions and guidance. Key among these was that drivers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in individual quarantine by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for a period of up to 14 days.
Uber has also introduced safety recommendations within the app to help raise awareness about suggested travel restrictions and social distancing with “travel only if necessary” in app messaging. The firm is providing safety information to drivers and riders in line with public health authorities’ guidance. This includes messages in-app, email and on social media channels.