A special fleet of taxis, consisting of around 300 cabs, will soon begin transporting Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms to and from their homes to the Hospital Authority's designated clinics for treatment.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Transport and Housing Bureau said the designated fleet will start providing free transport services for Covid patients from Friday, adding that the number of taxis can be adjusted according to the demand.
The vehicles will not carry any other passengers.
Authorities stressed the drivers will undergo daily tests, and will be equipped with all the necessary protective equipment.
"Patients should visit the designated clinics by designated taxis as far as possible. The Government will provide operators and drivers of the designated fleets with anti-epidemic guidelines. Drivers of the designated fleet must wear protective equipment, including protective face shields (while not driving), masks and protective gowns, and fully disinfect the compartments every day and perform a daily rapid antigen test before providing services,” a bureau spokesperson said.
“In order to reduce the infection risks, passengers must use the back seats of the taxis, as the front passenger seat of the taxis will not carry passengers. The designated fleet will only transport those with appointments made with the designated clinics, and will not pick up other passengers.”
Patients who’ve made appointments with the seven designated clinics can book the services online (www.designatedtaxihk.com) from 7am on Friday, or call their hotline at 3693 4770.
The clinics – at Shau Kei Wan, Kennedy Town, San Po Kong, Kowloon Bay, Kwai Chung, Sha Tin and Tin Shui Wai – began operating on Wednesday, with more than 700 people making bookings.
Officials expect them to collectively treat up to 1,000 patients per day, with the Hospital Authority saying they can boost the capacity further if needed.
These clinics are intended to treat patients with relatively mild symptoms, as the city's overwhelmed public hospitals struggle to accommodate thousands of new patients.
A record 4,285 infections were reported on Wednesday, with another 7,000 preliminary positive cases.