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Rescue boats used during floods in Kerala have been converted to ambulances amid the COVID-19 outbreak as roads connectivity is lost due to heavy rains.
This year Kerala has deployed two 24-hour rescue boats just for ambulance service so that one could be used for COVID-19 patients and the second boat can be used for the other patient, The News Minute reported.
"There are many who live in the interior regions and depend on boats to reach hospitals. Once the regular boats stop service at 10 pm, they'd have no other way to go out," says Shaji V Nair, director of State Water Transport Department. "These ambulance boats must have saved several hundreds of lives in the past few months," he added.
Further, he cited the example of Perumbalam Island in Alappuzha, where more than 25,000 people live, and public transport is not yet available. In such places, rescue boats are a great relief for the public.
There are five rescue boats in Alappuzha, Panavally, Vaikkom, Muhamma and Ernakulam. Out of these, four, are sometimes used for ambulance services. One of the most flooded areas in the state, Kuttanad uses rescue boats for ambulance services. Once the patients are brought to the nearest shore on the rescue boats, the 108 ambulances running on the road would take over.
In the boat deployed for COVID-19, there is a driver and two lackeys, who have been trained by the health department to handle the patients. The drivers wear PPE kits, and after each boat service, all of them are sprayed with disinfectants.
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