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Uber will suspend the accounts of drivers and delivery people affected by coronavirus – but has offered financial assistance to help them cope.

The company said those either diagnosed with Covid-19 or having to self-isolate would receive aid for up to 14 days while their accounts were blocked.

Some drivers had already received help, Uber said, adding it was “working to quickly implement this worldwide”. However, the amount of financial assistance has not been specified.

The number of coronavirus cases continues to rise globally, with more than 10,000 in Italy, more than 1,000 in the US and 456 in the UK.

Self-isolating employees in the UK can access statutory sick pay from the first day they are off – but it is unclear if or how this applies to gig-economy workers, such as those who work through Uber.

In guidance published online, the company said: “We may temporarily suspend the accounts of riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to Covid-19.”

But it added: “Any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with Covid-19 or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold.”

Uber also said it was working with drivers and riders to help prevent the spread of the virus.

It said it was “working to provide drivers with disinfectants” for their cars and was advising Uber Eats delivery people to employ tactics such as arranging to leave food outside customers’ doors.

Earlier this week, the United Private Hire Drivers union told BBC News: “Without access to worker rights such as minimum wage and sick pay, drivers who are infected may simply not be able to afford to stop working.”

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