New Delhi: On May 15, the number of calls attended by the Centralised Ambulance Trauma Services (CATS) was 750, the fleet status was 160 and 222 calls had to be refused. There were 20 phone lines and if you had a medical emergency, the wait for a CATS ambulance was as long as 55 minutes.

Three months down the line, as Delhi saw a huge spike in Covid-19 cases and then a decrease, the CATS fleet strength has gone up three fold, while the response time has also shrunk more than three times. As on August 10, the usual response time of a CATS ambulance was 18 minutes and the fleet strength has gone up to 594.

Improving response time of ambulances was one of the decisions taken by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to reduce the number of deaths caused by Covid-19. Kejriwal had instructed that serious patients need to be taken to the hospital as soon as possible, apart from directions to admit patients within 10 minutes of reaching hospital by ambulance.