E-hailing services Bolt and Uber will continue to operate, amid the fear and panic of the global outbreak of Covid-19, but operations will occur under strict hygienic protocols.
“Based on the advice of public health authorities, our goal is to help flatten the curve on community spread in the cities we serve,” Uber told News24 on Monday.
Uber added that it would be protecting its drivers and customers by temporarily closing its Greenlight Hubs across South Africa in a bid to encourage social distancing.
These will be closed from Tuesday until 6 April.
“We recognise that this may create challenges for drivers and we are further expanding online and phone support options,” Uber said.
Although supplies are currently limited, the e-hailing service is working on providing drivers with access to disinfectants to keep their cars clean.
Bolt said it supported government’s implementation of measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. It said it was taking extensive measures to help minimise the transmission of the virus.
“The health of drivers, riders and employees is of utmost priority to Bolt, and we are engaging with the department of health and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases to proactively manage risks of exposure,” said country manager of Bolt South Africa, Gareth Taylor.
Drivers had been given hygienic protocols, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the procedures to follow when they had concerns regarding possible exposure to the virus.
In addition, Bolt said it has closed its Driver Centres until further notice. It said drivers with any concerns were encouraged to share them through the app or contact the platform via email.
“Bolt encourages all Bolt drivers and passengers to act responsibly and approach concerns around Covid-19 with caution, referring only to trusted resources such as the department of health or WHO for information,” Taylor said.
As of 16 March, South Africa had 62 cases of Covid-19.In an address to the nation on Sunday following a Cabinet meeting, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced strict measures for minimising the spread of the deadly virus. News24 earlier reported that some of the major decisions taken by Cabinet include:
– A ban on travel from the following high-risk countries: Italy, Iraq, South Korea, Spain, Germany, United States, United Kingdom and China;
– The closing of 35 land ports of entry, as well as two of the country’s eight seaports;
– A ban on gatherings of 100 people or more;
– The introduction of tracking, tracing and monitoring systems; and the consideration of a fiscal relief package to minimise damage to the economy.