Ambulance Driver Who Ferried Over 200 COVID-19 Victims Succumbs To The Virus In Delhi
Khan used to spend his entire night in an ambulance parking lot, which is around 28 km from his home in Northeast Delhi's Seelampur area and used to talk to his family over the phone.
Arif Khan, an ambulance driver who ferried over 200 patients suffering from COVID-19 since March, and carried the deceased for their last rites succumbed to the virus on Saturday. He breathed his last at Hindu Rao Hospital in Delhi after selflessly serving the infected victims during the pandemic.
After the COVID-19 outbreak, Khan did not return to his home and was continuously on duty. He was employed as the ambulance driver with Shaheed Bhagat Singh Seva Dal, an NGO that offers free ambulance and funeral service in Delhi for those who have lost their lives because of the virus.
Khan was among the many ambulance drivers of the NGO who ferried over 500 COVID-19 victims for their last rites.
Khan used to spend his entire night in an ambulance parking lot, which is around 28 km from his home in Northeast Delhi's Seelampur area and used to talk to his family over the phone. He became extremely sick on October 3, after getting tested positive for COVID-19 and died within a day of getting admitted to the hospital.
Founder and President of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Seva Dal, Jitendaar Singh Shunty told Livemint that Khan was very hardworking and committed to his job. He used to answer calls even at 3 am.
Khan's 22-year-old son Aadil said, "We met when he came over to pick essentials, like clothes. I used to go to check on him sometimes as we were always worried about him. But he never bothered about COVID, he just wanted to do his job well."
"Arif Bhai did a remarkably good job. He used to live here in the hospital so that he can remain available for the job. He worked commendably. On October 1, Aarif developed COVID-19 symptoms. He went to the hospital but came back later. On Friday, we again admitted him to Hindu Rao hospital where he died on Saturday at 8 am. We cremated his body. He has left a deep void that can't be fulfilled. He was a true COVID-19 warrior," Shunty said.
However, Shunty ensured that the organization will continue to help people across the nations with their services. He appreciated all his drivers as warriors of COVID-19. He claimed that when they started off with the service, only 12 ambulances were available but now they have 16 ambulances and till now the organization has carried out 500 COVID-19 victims bodies for final rites.
"We have performed the final rites of 90 COVID-19 victims as their families were quarantined. We have performed the finals rites of 19 patients whose families have abandoned them. We are always at risk even when we are taking all measures. We will continue our work in the nation's service," Shunty added.
Arif's family members have requested some financial assistance from the Delhi government. "We live in a rented house here in Shahdara and we did not receive any help from the government. He was the sole earner of the family. The government should help us," his son Aadil said.
On Sunday, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu conveyed his condolences to the deceased's family.
"My condolences to the bereaved family members of the ambulance driver, Aarif Khan of Delhi. He rendered selfless service by ferrying close to 200 bodies of COVID-19 patients for their last rites. It is saddening to learn that he succumbed to the Coronavirus," Mr Naidu tweeted.