Egypt's stock market slightly up, main index falls after Juhayna head arrest    42nd Cairo International Film Festival opens today amid strict precautionary measures    Not so Merry Christmas looms for coronavirus-hit Europe    Asian stocks mixed on Wednesday after Wall Street surged overnight    Armed bank robbers storm another Brazilian town, battle police in streets    UK approves Pfizer-BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine, first in the world    A gloomy Christmas in store for Gaza handicraft workshop    Deadline for reconciliation requests in building violations pushed back till end of 2020: Egypt cabinet    Egypt's capital inflows fell by half in FY2019/20, CBE    Live score: Manchester United v Paris Saint-Germain (UEFA Champions League)    Egypt confirms 392 new coronavirus cases, 16 deaths on Tuesday    Champions League a headache for Atletico: Simeone after Bayern draw    Egyptian expats to print ballots starting Thursday for 2nd stage of parliamentary run-offs    Iran's president rejects bill that would boost enrichment    In '76 Days,' a documentary portrait of lockdown in Wuhan    19-year-old Jones sends Liverpool into last 16 with Ajax win    Eni reaches agreements with Egypt, Naturgy to restart operations at gas plant in Damietta    Cooperation between Egypt and Tanzania    Gana Hena play at Al-Ghad Theatre is a must go    A final battle    Upgrading transport    Free Devastation    France aiming for broader COVID-19 vaccination campaign in spring: Macron    Egypt reports 370 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths on Monday    Brexit unresolved, as EU, UK say big differences remain    Cairo International Book Fair suspended for five months over coronavirus concerns    US will reduce number of its troop in Iraq, Afghanistan    Asia forms world's biggest trade bloc, a China-backed group excluding U.S    Egypt unveils largest archaeological discovery in 2020 with over 100 intact sarcophagi    Trump says won't blame Egypt for being ‘upset' over GERD dispute with Ethiopia    1st stage of Egypt's parliamentary elections kicks off on Saturday    Global Finance: Egypt's Tarek Amer among the world's top 20 central bank governors    Legend footballer Lionel Messi says he is forced to stay with Barcelona    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    Iraqi conglomerate eyes developing land that housed Mubarak-era ruling party HQ    Legend Messi officially wants to leave Barcelona, hands transfer request    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Uber offers coronavirus contact tracing help amid chaotic U.S. response – officials
Published in Amwal Al Ghad on 20 - 07 - 2020

Uber Technologies quietly launched a service to give public health officials quick access to data on drivers and riders presumed to have come into contact with someone infected with COVID-19, company officials told Reuters.
The service, offered free of charge, could help burnish the image of the ride-hailing giant, which recently launched a new ad campaign spotlighting its "No Mask, No Ride" policy in the United States.
Now being promoted to government health officials in all the countries where it operates, the service provides health departments with data about who used Uber's services and when and allows health agencies to urge affected users into quarantine, the company officials said.
Information on an individual can be accessed in a few hours, the officials said, with the company considering COVID-19 an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury.
Though Uber has provided the data for months now, it has not been put to use in many U.S. virus hotspots.
A recent Reuters review of contact tracing policies by 32 U.S. state and local health departments found most did not use ride-hailing data to track the virus spread. Among those neglecting the data are Texas and Florida, states that have seen a surge in new infections.
Unlike several other countries, the United States has no federal program or mobile application to trace the contacts of people with coronavirus infections, a measure deemed crucial by the World Health Organization in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not respond to requests for comment.
Dozens of U.S. states in recent weeks began hiring thousands of workers to interview infected patients, identify people they have been in contact with and then order those individuals to isolate. Ride-hailing data could play an important role in that effort, health officials and experts said, because it identifies a larger set of people outside the direct social circle of an infected individual.
"This data could be potentially life-saving in cities where many people use those services," said Mieka Smart, an epidemiology professor at Michigan State University and a member of the COVID-19 contact tracing workgroup in Flint.
Uber has long provided data to U.S. law enforcement officials in emergencies or criminal investigations, companies officials said. It first began to focus on health-related issues in 2019, when a resurgence of U.S. measles cases prompted several health departments to request data, the officials said.
In January, company executives flew to Los Angeles to meet with the local health department and CDC officials to discuss how Uber's data could best be used, according to Uber's chief of global law enforcement, Mike Sullivan.
The discussion quickly turned to the novel coronavirus, which at the time was only beginning to spread outside of China.
"Our timing ended up being beneficial in that it allowed us to get ahead before COVID started ramping up globally," said Sullivan, a veteran U.S. prosecutor who leads a team of 100 Uber employees handling data requests around the clock.
In the first half of the year, Uber received a total of some 560 coronavirus-related requests from public health departments in 29 countries, most of which were processed by the company within two hours, company officials said. That compares to only 10 requests from health departments globally in 2019.
Out of the total, 158 requests were filed by health authorities in nearly 40 locations around the United States.
Using the new portal, designed for exclusive use by public health departments, data can be sought based on trip receipts or passenger names. Health officials are prompted to specify what action they want Uber to take as part of the service.
"We want to make sure that they are the experts and we follow their recommendations" on whether to block temporarily a driver, rider or courier from using Uber's service, Sullivan said. Uber customers with a confirmed infection are automatically blocked from the platform for at least 14 days.
Uber has seen an increase in contact tracing requests from countries credited for their initial success in containing the virus, such as Australia and New Zealand, Sullivan said. He added that contact tracing was also much more coordinated in several European countries than in the United States, including in the UK.
U.S. contact tracing efforts vary from region to region. In some areas, the effort is coordinated on the state level, while cities or counties take charge in others, requests from health departments show.
In Massachusetts, for example, local health departments gather trip details if an infected person tells investigators they have taken a ride-hailing trip. That information is then transferred to the state's health department, which reaches out to Uber or Lyft to request data.
Lyft said it provided data to U.S. and Canadian health officials through its Law Enforcement Request system, but declined to provide further details, citing privacy reasons.
In California, local officials handle the entire contact tracing process. San Francisco so far has requested ride-hailing data related to the coronavirus pandemic in a handful of cases, according to Michael Reid, a physician who heads the city's contact tracing program.
"In the end, we need all the data we can to be effective," said Reid. "Whether it's Uber or Lyft, or the priest telling you who was in church on Sunday."


Clic here to read the story from its source.