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Indian Railways converts train coaches into ‘Isolation Wards’ to shore up country’s fight against Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic

The Indian Railways has also offered to prepare 3 lakh patient beds if the need arises in future.

With India entering a crucial phase in its fight against the Wuhan Coronavirus, the Indian Railways came up with a remarkably ingenious solution to support the country’s public health system. It has decided to convert its coaches into quarantine wards for the treatment of Coronavirus, (also known as COVID-19) patients.

Furthermore, the Indian Railways has also offered to prepare 3 lakh patient beds if the need arises in future.

According to North Central Railway (NCR) General Manager Rajiv Chaudhary, a train coach at the coaching depot in New Delhi has been converted by the Railways into isolation wards in consultation with medical professionals. “A sleeper coach of a train is being transformed and improvised into isolation wards for patients suffering from Covid-19. Such measures will help us in keeping ourselves ahead of the curve in combating the novel coronavirus,” he said.

In addition, all Railway divisions have identified a ward or building for setting up isolation beds for Covid-19 patients. Similarly, Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is fleshing out a plan to provide meals in different parts of the country and hospitals if the need arises. Pantry cars will be disinfected and converted into the mobile kitchen so as to ensure a healthy and adequate supply of food at stations where there are no base kitchens.

Following the total lockdown announced by PM Modi, passenger train services have been completely suspended across the country. Instead of letting trains idling at the railway yards, the idea to have them transformed into quarantine facility was first discussed with the Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal with the Chairman of Railway Board, Vijay Kumar Yadav, General Managers of all the zones and Division Railway Managers over video conferencing. PM Modi was also consulted over this idea before proceeding to convert railway coaches as isolation wards.

Chairman of Railway Board, Vijay Kumar Yadav had then said, “Railways coaches and cabins can be converted into makeshift hospitals on the wheels, equipped with consultation rooms, medical stores, ICU and pantry. These coaches can be sent to those parts of the country which are witnessing an uncontrollable rise in the number of coronavirus cases. As per WHO, India has just 0.7 beds per 1000 people. While it has targeted to increase it to two beds per 1000 people but the WHO mandated at least 3 beds per 1000 people in the country.”

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