Aarif Khan, an ambulance driver in Delhi who ferried over 200 COVID-19 patients since March, succumbed to the virus at the Hindu Rao Hospital on Saturday.
Khan was employed with the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, a non-government organisation that provides free emergency and funeral services for those who have died of the virus.
Khan used to sleep in an ambulance parking lot, 28 km from his home in northeast Delhi’s Seelampur and maintained contact with his family on the phone, says one report. He fell sick on October 3 , subsequently tested positive for coronavirus and died within a day of getting admitted to hospital.
“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,” Khan’s 22-year-old son, Aadil, was quoted as saying.
The founder of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal Jitender Singh Shunty said Aarif was very dedicated to his work, responding to calls even as late as 3 am.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu offered his condolences on Aarif’s demise.
"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 wrote on Twitter.
My condolences to the bereaved family members of 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.https://t.co/FlGaY80NhO— Vice President of India (@VPSecretariat) October 11, 2020