Internet giant Google, in collaboration with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Health (DOH), has added locally relevant information onto its Maps as part of response efforts to help in the fight against Covid-19.
The 19 existing routes of DOTr’s free hospital shuttle services are now on the public transport tab of Maps so medical frontliners can easily see and check how to get to and from their hospitals. Aside from Metro Manila, the routes include San Jose del Monte, Bulacan up to Cabuyao, Laguna.
To use this:
- Launch Google Maps via app or Web
- Enter your intended destination
- Tap “Directions”
- Select the public transit tab. This is the train icon which comes after car and motorcycle icons.
- Maps will immediately pull up a recommended route which uses the DOTr’s hospital shuttle routes, when available
With this update, medical frontliners can calculate their estimated travel time and easily find the best way and schedule to get from their home to their hospital and vice versa. Updates to the bus routes and schedules will be reflected in the service, including more free shuttle services from the local government units soon.
“Technology makes our lives easier. So, as we help provide our health workers with daily free rides, I am certain that partnering with digital technology will also make navigating routes the least of their worries. We want to make things easier for them, given the enormous tasks that they perform everyday,” said DOTr secretary Arthur Tugade.
“We admire and honor all our frontline workforce, both in the medical and non-medical fields, risking their personal health and lives to save others and flatten the curve. We hope that by making the routes of the DOTr’s free rides accessible on Google Maps, we are helping provide ease and convenience to the daily transport of our frontliners,” said Bernadette Nacario, country director of Google Philippines.
Additionally, when a user types in “covid testing” on Google Search or Maps, DOH-certified Covid-19 reference laboratory hospitals within the area will show.
Before going to the facility, individuals must refer to the Screening Tool posted on the DOH Covid-19 website and to call the Covid-19 hotline (02-894-Covid / 02-89426843) to avoid any hassle both to the patient and the hospital. Certain hospitals have reached their capacity and won’t be able to accommodate patients anymore. Always check the DOH Covid-19 website for the latest information.
Google will also be providing up to $5-million worth of Search ads credits to Philippine government agencies including the DOH among others to help in the communication of credible and useful information in relation to Covid-19.