In hindsight, her response was entirely understandable. “You must not go there; tell your employers to put you on duty elsewhere,” cried Abdul Rehman’s wife when she heard that her husband has been deployed to ferry suspected coronavirus patients from the airport to the hospital. Rehman, 33, soothed her nerves and assured her there was no reason to worry. It’s not that the ambulance technician was upbeat about the task himself. He had his own apprehensions but the call of duty was paramount.
Before the outbreak of coronavirus, Rehman would spend his days carrying mostly accident victims to hospitals. Giving first aid to victims, checking vitals such as pulse and blood pressure, and drawing up patient-care reports is what the emergency medical technician’s usual day involved. The ambulance service—known as 108 in common parlance, after the emergency number—he is part of is coordinated from a centralised call centre in the district.