London’s second-biggest ride hailing platform Bolt has pledged free rides worth £250,000 ($339,000) to help get people living in the capital vaccinated against COVID-19.
Bolt has offered its services to the UK government and NHS London to help people travel to COVID-19 vaccine hubs. The company will pick up the bill of transporting people to get their jabs.
Additionally, it has also appealed to firms or organisations who wish to fund further free rides for people in priority need of the coronavirus vaccine should to get in touch to work something out.
It comes as London mayor Sadiq Khan declared a COVID emergency in the capital on Friday, saying that the spread of the virus was “out of control.”
Khan made the official declaration amid soaring coronavirus cases and as hospitals in London struggle to cope with the number of patients. The coronavirus infection rate in London has exceeded 1,000 per 100,000 people.
At the moment, there are more than 7,000 people in hospital with COVID-19 — a 35% increase compared with the previous peak of the pandemic, Khan said.
On Thursday, Sussex and Surrey declared similar major incidents.
Today I have declared a major incident in London because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point. One in 30 Londoners now has COVID-19. If we do not take immediate action now, our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die.
— Mayor of London (gov.uk/coronavirus) (@MayorofLondon) January 8, 2021
READ MORE: UK approves Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine
It comes as Britain approved its third vaccine against COVID-19 on Friday. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency deemed Moderna’s (MRNA) vaccine safe for use in adults over the age of 18.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine appears to be “effective" against the new COVID-19 strains, a study has found. According to a laboratory study conducted by Pfizer the vaccine appeared to work against a key mutation in the highly transmissible new variants of the virus, discovered in the UK and South Africa.
Markus Villig, Bolt’s co-founder and CEO said that the vaccine is “key to restoring lives back to normal.”
The company, which has pledged to “do its bit” and set “Londoners free again” is keen to help people “return to work, to school, to socialising” and get economies moving again.
“We know Londoners are desperate to enjoy their incredible city again, to see loved ones and to support the economy,” said Sam Raciti, Bolt’s UK general manager.
“This week, the government announced London’s ExCel centre as the biggest vaccine hub in London, and we’re sure there will be other sites added to the list in due course — our 50,000 drivers in London are here and ready to help get people to these sites for their vaccinations.”
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