Taxis in Buenos Aires pick up ambulance duty to aid fight against Covid-19
By Augusto Morel
Buenos Aires, Jun 30 (EFE).- As Covid-19 infections soared across Argentina, a group of taxi drivers in Buenos Aires became the city’s primary transportation for patients, health workers and vaccines to healthcare facilities.
Since April 2020, taxis have made over 120,000 trips to aid battle Covid-19, according to official data.
“At first, it was just another job, but as time goes by one becomes committed, after all we have been through,” says Leandro Crespo, one of 200 taxi drivers carrying out this duty.
The city of Buenos Aires called on the taxi industry to carry Covid-19 patients to hospitals, specialized healthcare facilities and hotels habilitated for quarantines.
“Indirectly, you are saving lives. Being able to help is something quite thrilling,” says Guillermo Figueroa, the first driver assigned to the task.
To accomodate for their new purpose, the taxis have turned into wheeled ‘bubbles’, with their seats wrapped in plastic and isolated from the driver.
A long plastic curtain stretches across the width of the car’s interior, cutting off any risk of contagion, but not human warmth.
Many patients enter the taxis in a state of shock, according to Leandro.
“We help them relax, we give them support, tell them not to worry about it,” he says.