Face masks or all riders availing Uber services in the United Kingdom will be made mandatory by the ride sharing company starting next week.
The measure was being taken by it “to help everyone stay safe”, said the minicab app firm. It added that measures to give access to drivers to protective equipment have also been implemented by it.
Starting Monday, the government has also made it mandatory for everyone to wear face coverings while on public transport and in hospitals in England.
This decision was taken after a study suggested thaw earning face masks could reduce the spread of Covid-19 by up to 40 per cent.
Uber has also made it mandatory for its drivers in London to submit to the company a picture of themselves in order to verify that the new rules are being followed by them prior to them starting work every day.
Sending out 54,000 units of cleaning spray and hand sanitiser, distributing more than two million masks to drivers and trialling in-car partitions in Newcastle, Tyne and Wear are among the other measures that the company has implemented for safety of drivers.
“For months we’ve been urging people to stay home, for their safety and the safety of drivers who make essential trips. Now, as cities begin to reopen and people start moving again, we’re taking measures to help everyone stay safe and healthy every time they use Uber,” said Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood.
Many authorities have said that research on face coverings and its impact with respect ot Cvoid-19 infections have been “slim”. And for health professionals there’s always been the fear of a rush to snap up medical-grade masks.
But a number of studies in laboratory settings have depicted the distance the droplets carrying the novel coronavirus could travel, thus spreading the disease, by coughs as well as the various types of materials that can dramatically reduce the number of such droplets from infected patients can get through and therefore impact spread of the disease.
While not completely protecting one from the virus, a homemade mask will definitely help to reduce the chances of one infected individual infecting others through coughing. Therefore the overall risk of spread of the disease is dramatically brought down if enough people follow that advice and wear face masks.
However in the world of science, there have been passionate disagreements over this issue.
And while even the advocates of face masks would agree that wearing face masks in public will not defeat the virus on its own but it is regarded as a potential useful additional measure as countries emerge from strict lockdowns.
Scotland already recommends wearing coverings in shops and on public transport.
Three-layer face coverings on public transport and other situations where social distancing is not possible have been asked of people in Wales. Northern Ireland has also recommended wearing of face masks on public transport.
(Adapted from BBC.com)