Uber launches service to assist with COVID-19 contact tracing: report


Ridesharing big Uber has rolled out a service to offer public well being officers fast entry to consumer information to trace coronavirus instances, Reuters reported Monday.

The contact tracing service might be offered totally free, and is reportedly being launched to public well being officers in all nations the place Uber operates, in response to Reuters. Firm officers advised Reuters info of both a driver or passenger could be accessed in just a few hours. 

The service gives well being departments with information about who used Uber’s providers and when and permits well being businesses to induce affected drivers and customers to quarantine, firm officers advised reporters.

Uber has a protocol in place that it could disclose consumer info to public well being businesses in an emergency involving hazard of demise or severe bodily harm.

Since COVID-19 could be transmitted by shut proximity to affected people, public well being officers have recognized contact tracing as a precious device to assist include its unfold. The U.S. at present doesn’t have a federally-funded contact tracing service in place.

Quite a few main public well being authorities, universities, non-governmental organizations and tech firms have been racing to develop strategies to carry out contact tracing by know-how. As an illustration, Apple and Google launched COVID-19 contact tracing through smartphone apps in April however, to date, uptake has been sluggish. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention was additionally working to roll out its personal contact tracing app.

RELATED: Former HHS Secretary Leavitt: A ‘nationwide technique is required’ for COVID-19 contact tracing

As cities across the U.S. have begun requiring eating places to take down diners’ contact info for contact tracing, tech-engabled restaurant reservation apps resembling Tock have reportedly additionally been tapped to assist with contact tracing.

Trip-hailing information may play an essential position in that effort, well being officers and consultants stated, as a result of it identifies a bigger set of individuals outdoors the direct social circle of an contaminated particular person, in response to the Reuters article.

In January, Uber executives flew to Los Angeles to satisfy with the native well being division and CDC officers to debate how Uber’s information may finest be used, Uber’s chief of world regulation enforcement Mike Sullivan advised Reuters. Because the onset of the pandemic within the U.S., Uber has acquired roughly 560 coronavirus-related requests from public well being officers throughout 29 nations, most of which have been processed by the corporate inside two hours, firm officers advised Reuters.

Out of these, 158 requests have been filed by well being authorities in practically 40 places round the USA.

RELATED: Apple, Google staff up on COVID-19 contact tracing through smartphone apps

Uber has seen a rise in touch tracing requests from nations credited for his or her preliminary success in containing the virus, resembling Australia and New Zealand, Sullivan stated. He added that contact tracing was additionally way more coordinated in a number of European nations than in the USA, together with within the UK.

Lyft stated it offered information to U.S. and Canadian well being officers by its Legislation Enforcement Request system, however declined to offer additional particulars, citing privateness causes, Reuters reported.


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