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Uber Drops as Covid Variant and Brussels Court Ruling Hit Stock

Uber shares fall as Covid variant raises spectre of less passenger use, and as court ruling prompts a halt to its taxi operations in Brussels.
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Uber Technologies  (UBER) - Get Uber Technologies, Inc. Report shares dropped premarket Friday as the new Covid-19 variant weighed on the stock as well as the wider market.

A new Covid variant that has been driving a rise in infections in South Africa over the past two weeks has resulted in dozens of countries restricting travel to and from the country. 

The World Health Organization is due to meet later Friday to decide whether to declare the new strain a "variant of concern."

The Delta variant is now the dominant strain of the disease in the world. 

Uber shares were down 4.9% premarket Friday. 

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Additionally, a Brussels' court ban on the company's main taxi service in the city took effect. 

The Brussels Appeal Court ruled that a 2015 ban on private individuals offering taxi services also applies to the company's drivers. Uber first came to Brussels in 2014.

Since 2015, Uber has been able to continue growing in Brussels, according to the Brussels Times, working only with drivers who have an FVO/LVC profession license, the same license that limousine drivers have. 

Earlier this month, Uber raised prices in London by 10% starting Thursday, marking the largest price increase in the city since 2017.

The company says that passenger demand has spiked 20% in the U.K. since the country ended its lockdown over the summer. It estimated it needs to hire 20,000 extra drivers across the country in order to meet demand.

“We’re making these changes to help provide a better rider experience, by signing up more drivers to meet the growing demand,” an Uber spokesperson said, according to CNBC.