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Lyft to deliver food and medical supplies during coronavirus pandemic

The Uber rival is combating a fall in demand with new test kit delivery service

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Lyft, the ride-sharing firm and Uber rival, is to begin delivering food, medical supplies and test kits to the elderly and vulnerable.

The extra services come as Lyft says it has seen a fall in demand due to the coronavirus causing people to self-isolate at home for the foreseeable future.

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There are three parts to Lyft's new plan. The first is to help deliver medical supplies and other critical goods to the elderly, those with chronic diseases, and other vulnerable members of society.

Lyft said: "Our healthcare team is working with government agencies and other businesses to identify individuals in need. To protect drivers and those receiving the deliveries, these drop-offs will be contactless."

The second of Lyft's three-pronged approach is to support the delivery of meals for children and elderly people who are most in need. Working in partnership with government agencies and local non-profits, Lyft drivers will begin collecting meals from distribution centers and delivering them without contact to those who need them.

This service will begin as a pilot in the San Francisco Bay Area initially, but the company is hoping to quickly scale up throughout California and across the US.

Finally, Lyft has pledged to help transport people to non-emergency medical treatment (NEMT). This includes dialysis appointments, chemotherapy, prenatal care and other treatments. Lyft has partnered with eight Medicaid agencies to incorporate its services into their NEMT programs.

Separately, Lyft (as well as Uber) has pledged to provide employees with 14 days of paid sick leave if they catch the coronavirus or are quarantined by a public health agency.

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