500 taxis, passenger cars modified to carry HCMC Covid patients

By Gia Minh   August 10, 2021 | 12:00 pm GMT+7
500 taxis and passenger vehicles in HCMC have been converted into ‘ambulances’ to deliver critical Covid-19 patients to hospital.

Mai Linh Group, a major taxi operator in Vietnam, said 80 taxis in its fleet of 200 have been modified to carry Covid-19 patients, with the rest waiting to be equipped with medical devices to serve the same purpose.

A Mai Linh taxi carries a Covid-19 patient to District 4 Hospital in HCMC, August 6, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van.

A Mai Linh taxi carries a Covid-19 patient to District 4 Hospital in HCMC, August 6, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van.

Early this month, Phuong Trang FUTA Buslines Corporation said more than 200 of its vehicles were converted into ambulances to help local health authorities transport critical Covid-19 patients.

Saigon Passenger Bus Corporation has mobilized 40 cars and buses with 10-45 seats each to support the city’s healthcare sector.

"HCMC 115 Emergency Center coordinates transportation schedules and pick-up locations daily. Medical facilities in each district can also contact us, with vehicle dispatched as required," said Truong Quoc Huy, deputy executive director of Saigon Bus.

In all cases, drivers operating modified vehicles have been vaccinated with at least one shot and are arranged to stay at work to contain any possible Covid-19 spread.

Oxygen tanks on a taxi cab that has been modified to transfer Covid-19 patients. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van

Oxygen tanks on a taxi cab that has been modified to carry Covid-19 patients in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van.

Nguyen Duy Long, director of the 115 Emergency Center, said the increase of vehicles to transfer patients in the past few days has helped ease the overload and increase the capacity to save lives.

Phuong Trang has sent 220 16-seat vehicles to all district-level medical facilities and centralized quarantine camps to promptly bring severe cases to hospital when needed, said Long.

The 115 center will further coordinate Mai Linh taxis depending on the actual situation. Each taxi is accompanied by staff who are medical students and members of the HCMC Youth Union that have gone through training courses to meet basic professional medical requirements along with basic medical equipment like oxygen tanks and rapid testing machines.

The city has recorded 128,285 community Covid-19 cases so far in the wave that broke out in late April, with more than 3,000 fatalities, as confirmed by the Health Ministry.

 
 
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