Uber says it’s working with health officials to deliver coronavirus tests

  • Uber is looking to deliver coronavirus tests as the virus wreaks havoc on the global economy.
  • In the United States, widespread testing got off to a slow start but has ramped up in recent days.
  • Uber is well-versed in delivery, with its Eats business delivering meals and groceries. It also has a rapidly scaling Health arm.
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Uber said Thursday it is “looking to deliver” coronavirus tests and is working with health officials in order to do so.

Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi broke the news in a conference call with analysts in which it updated them on the company’s slumping business as coronavirus forces many businesses to close, travelers to stay put, and other potential riders to stay home.

An Uber spokesperson confirmed the company was looking into the possibility, but that no deliveries had yet begun. There’s no word on where the tests might be delivered first, or if they will be delivered to homes, hospitals, testing sites, or other locations.

Uber is, of course, well versed in delivery, with its Eats unit growing quickly alongside Health and Freight. Nelson Chai, the company’s CFO, added on the call that Uber Freight is also working with government officials to “sure we’re involved in the supply chain for critical items in the US.”

As of Thursday morning, the spreading virus had infected more than 222,000 people worldwide. About 9,415 of those confirmed cases are in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers. After a stumble out of the gate, testing was ramping up n several US states, including the formation of many “drive-thru” testing centers.

Shares of Uber surged more than 8% in early trading Thursday following the call, after falling to their lowest prices ever on Wednesday amid a broader market selloff.