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Uber temporarily shutters 240 accounts in Mexico because of coronavirus

Mexico City's health department tells Uber that two of its drivers may have been exposed to the virus.

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Uber has suspended user accounts in Mexico because drivers may have been exposed to coronavirus.

Angela Lang/CNET

Uber confirmed Monday that it's temporarily suspended roughly 240 user accounts in Mexico to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The virus was first discovered in the Wuhan region of China late last year but has since been found in at least 20 other countries, including in Europe, the Middle East, Australia and the US.

In a statement on Twitter Saturday, Uber said it suspended the accounts in Mexico because those users had come in contact with two drivers possibly exposed to the virus. The news was first reported by Bloomberg

As of the writing of this story, no cases of coronavirus have yet been confirmed in Mexico. But Uber said it received information from Mexico City's health department about one of its passengers who was identified as a possible carrier of the virus. Because of that information, the ride-hailing company temporarily suspended the accounts of two drivers who transported the individual, along with about 240 passengers who came in contact with those drivers.

Other modes of travel have also been curtailed because of the coronavirus, which is said to have infected more than 17,000 people and killed more than 300. Airlines, including United, Air Canda, British Airways and Lufthansa, have suspended operations between their hubs and some major cities in China. It's still unclear how exactly the coronavirus spreads in person-to-person contact.

"We have a dedicated online portal for public health authorities to contact Uber for information about riders and drivers," an Uber spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. "We will take action on any user accounts on the recommendation of those authorities."

Uber said it has a history of working with public health authorities around the world to respond to public health emergencies.

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