COVID-19 Travels Next to Me, Says a Driver from Sancti Spiritus

A taxi driver explains how, despite facing the danger of contracting COVID-19, he continues to provide his services every day

Xiomara Alsina

José María Triana says that he works every day at the risk of contracting COVID-19. (Photo: Vicente Brito / Escambray).

Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Sancti Spiritus, José María Triana, a driver from the Taxis-Cuba Travel Agency, has been exposed to contracting the disease. For him, being close to the “red line” has been the most humane and risky mission in his 38-years driving profession.

What was your attitude when the pandemic started?

I let my boss know about my willingness to fulfill any task, however risky it was. I did so only two days after the first cases were diagnosed and since then I cannot tell the many services I have fullfilled.

How do you feel about the fact that the virus “travels” with you in your car?

I have never been afraid. I only know that the responsibility of us, the drivers, comes first. Since March, we have been driving suspected cases to the local Rehabilitation Hospital, many of whom tested positive. We also take those who were discharged back to their homes, and, on the other hand, we transport patiens’ samples to the different laboratorios of the country, including the IPK.

My family and daughter are in Italy and when I heard that the pandemic was taking so many lives there, I was really worried. But when I knew that Cuba was sending the first medical brigades to the cities of Crema and Lombardy I felt much more committed to helping our people.

What was the message you sent on social media to your fellow drivers at the beginning of the pandemic?

On Facebook I called them to act as good citizens and to work at the service of this government and this country that needs our help very much.

How is your interaction with the patients you take back to their homes?

It is hard, indeed. Many of them, once in the car, begin to cry and to express what they feel, so I must comfort them and prepare them for their arrival in their homes.

I remember the day when I drove an old lady who had no relatives. I had to help her in many ways and, although we are dressed up properly for the sake of our protection, it is difficult anyway.

I heard you made a sort of tapestry for your protection inside the car?

That is correct. I decided to put a tapestry made of nylon and vinyl, to divide the front seat from the rear, thus limiting the space between the passengers and the driver. The device has been very useful.  

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