• Uber and Bolt have both closed service centres in South Africa, central points frequented by drivers to receive assistance. 
  • All such services to drivers will instead now be completed online by employees from home, removing a contact point for potential viral transmission.
  • Drivers will continue to operate as normal, with increased measures to clean their cars and wash hands, the companies say. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.  

South African e-hailing services Uber and Bolt have closed the service centres frequented by drivers to receive information, verify their identities, and to complete various forms.

Employees who assist drivers with such administration are being asked to work from home instead, as of Tuesday.

That means contact between drivers will be limited, and there be no central contact point for drivers, where the novel coronavirus could spread.

Drivers will continue to operate as normal, albeit with increased measures to wash hands and clean cars. 

Also read: Virgin Active has halved group classes, and now offers ‘online workouts’ due to Covid-19

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday ordered the closure of South African borders to high-risk countries such as Italy and China, and asked citizens to remain home and avoid travel, as part of the country’s response to the coronavirus epidemic. 

Uber said it closed its service stations, or Greenlight Hubs, as part of a measure to help flatten the curve of the number of people infected with the coronavirus. 

“We recognize this may create challenges for drivers and we are further expanding online and phone support options,” Uber told Business Insider South Africa. 

It said that it expects 95% of the issues typically addressed at the stations can be resolved over the phone. 

Both Uber and Bolt have informed drivers of new protocols on how to clean their vehicles, 

Drivers operating on the Bolt platform have received direct communication reminding them of hygiene protocols as recommended by the World Health Organisation, and procedures to follow should they have concerns regarding exposure to the virus, or are displaying symptoms of Covid-19. 

Uber said it is working with manufacturers to source disinfectants for drivers to clean their vehicles, and will be providing information on how drivers can access financial assistance if diagnosed with the virus.

For more information direct from the source, see also:

the National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD)

the latest statements issued by the national government

the Twitter stream of health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize

the World Health Organisation's Covic-19 outbreak page

the NICD hotline for Covid-19 is: 0800-029-999.

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