Ola and Uber on Tuesday announced that they will provide 100 cabs with each to serve as emergency vehicles in Bengaluru for those without coronavirus symptoms during the ongoing lockdown.
"With the increasing number of COVID-19 related cases, 108 ambulance services are being utilized completely to ferry COVID-19 patients to hospitals and quarantine centers," Karnataka Health Minister B Srirmalu said in a statement.
"In order for other patients, who have medical emergencies and require medical procedures such as dialysis, chemotherapy, organ transplant, radiation therapy etc., not to be inconvenienced, the state government has tied up with ride-hailing apps Uber and Ola to provide 100 cabs with each for the benefit of such patients," the statement read.
These cabs can be availed by calling the numbers 9154153917, 9154153918 or by logging in to the respective apps. However, the cabs will only be used for the moving of patients from home to hospital and hospital to home and not for any other medical emergencies including suspected and positive cases of COVID-19.
As the city of Bengaluru has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, with 62 out of the total 175 reported in Karnataka, the service, therefore, is currently available in the city and will continue until April 15.
"These cabs will have signage on the front and rear which will read ‘Department of Health and Family Welfare Services, Medical Emergency Service Vehicle (Non-COVID-19) in red letters. It is compulsory that the driver and the patient/passenger wear required masks for protection. It is also compulsory for the air conditioning in each of these vehicles to be switched off and the window panes to be rolled down," said Pankaj Kumar Pandey, Commissioner, Department of Health and Family Welfare.
The charges for this service will be at a minimum, without any extra service charge or additional charges. Grievances against drivers who demand additional charges can be registered with the Deputy Director, EMRI at 915415397/18/19.