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Amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, several states have imposed either a partial or a strict lockdown. Restriction on travelling and with most people working from home several autorickshaw drivers deprived of their livelihood.
In some places, despite less restraint, the autorickshaw drivers are refusing people rides due to fear of COVID-19. But a K Premachandran, an autorickshaw driver in Vellur near Payyannur in Kerala, has decided to take the risk and help people showing COVID-19 symptoms.
The 51-year-old's autorickshaw has become popular among locals and is known as come "common man's ambulance" in Payyannur and nearby areas.
The first passenger Premchandran helped was a pregnant woman who returned to Payyannur from the Gulf got into his autorickshaw in March 2020. Since then, he has been carrying passengers with COVID-19 symptoms to hospitals, reported The New Indian Express.
"Most of my passengers had tested positive. Both they and I know that this might happen. Many tested negative too. However, I usually don't bother about whether they are positive or negative," he said.
He added that most people who need an autorickshaw are poor, and they take the ride as they don't have any other option. However, with COVID-19 cases going up, many autorickshaw drivers stopped giving rides to them. "I felt it was not fair," said Premchandran.
He also mentioned that not all autorickshaw drivers are unwilling, and there are many drivers like him who drive people to hospitals.
Premachandran ensures that he washes his hands and his vehicle is sanitised after each trip. Until now, he has taken about 500 people to hospitals.
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