CK Vineeth answers Kerala’s call to combat the coronavirus pandemic

CK Vineeth has, time and again, stepped up on the field when his team needed him the most. The former Kerala Blasters FC and current Jamshedpur FC striker is now doing the same off it, heeding the call to help out his home state Kerala combat the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the last few weeks, Vineeth has been volunteering as a call centre executive at the COVID-19 helpline centre set up by the Kannur district administration and the Kerala state sports council. “The centre has been functional since March 28. When I was asked by the sports council vice president OK Vineesh if I'd be keen to help, I jumped right in,” he revealed to ESPN in a recent interview.

 With the ongoing nation-wide lockdown in effect, Vineeth’s work involves him taking calls from locals to take down requests for essential items and then pass them on to delivery agents. “When a crisis strikes, we can either sit back or do our part. My state and my district (Kannur) are affected and I just didn't want to be the person watching from the sidelines,” the Jamshedpur striker noted.

As per reports, Vineeth’s involvement is part of a panchayat initiative to rope in people of note for a day to encourage people to call in for essential supplies rather than venturing out and increasing the risk-factor themselves. However, for Kannur’s own football star, the stint has gone beyond the token gesture and taken on a more wholesome role in the community. “I’ve stayed on the longest. It's just a way to cheer up people by having someone whom they may have heard of or seen on TV answer their calls and introduce themselves. I did it too on just the first day. Not since. People are struggling for essentials, so I don't want to be picking up the phone and saying, 'You know, I'm CK Vineeth, so are you a fan?' For now, I'm just Vineeth and I'm here to take their order."

“We have five BSNL mobile numbers on which people can call. Earlier, kids would call and ask if we could bring them chocolates. Now it's mostly the grocery essentials and a lot of requests for medicines,” he added. The call centre Vineeth works in involves 15 volunteers and handles around 200 calls a day.

Even though his work doesn’t particularly involve any contact with infected patients on a daily basis, Vineeth follows a strict regimen to mitigate the risks for himself and his family. “These days after my shift, once I get back, I shower in our outhouse before entering home,” he informed.

The striker also recently visited the Kannur district hospital as part of a food packet distribution drive for patients. “My father has health complications and I have a young son at home as well, so the days I visited the hospital, I didn't return home,” he revealed.

Vineeth is one of the several Hero ISL stars doing their bits at this time of need.

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