Indian Railways on Tuesday said that it will modify 20,000 of its passenger train coaches into quarantine centres to accommodate over 3.2 lakh novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients across the country.
The national transporter, which has geared up to prepare the passenger train coaches into isolation wards said that as part of COVID-19 preparedness in a statement said, “It has been decided by Indian Railways that it would be prepared to modify 20,000 coaches into quarantine or isolation coaches to augment the quarantine facilities being created in the country.”
The ministry said that to design the coaches as isolation wards, consultations were held with Armed Forces Medical Services, Medical Department of various Zonal Railways, and Ayushman Bharat, Ministry of Health.The five Zonal Railway have already prepared prototypes for the quarantine or isolation coaches.
“These modified 20,000 coaches can accommodate upto 3.2 lakh possible beds for isolation needs,” it said, adding that work on modification of 5,000 coaches, which are to be converted initially into isolation coaches has already started.
“These 5,000 coaches would be having capacity to accommodate upto 80,000 beds and one coach is expected to have 16 beds for isolation,” it said.
The railways also said that only non-air conditioned ICF sleeper coaches are being planned to be utilized for conversion into quarantine or isolation coaches.Highlighting the facilities in the isolation coaches, the ministry said that one Indian style toilet is to be converted into a bathing room which will also be equipped with bucket, mug and soap dispenser.The ministry said that taps with lift type handle would be provided in washbasins and similar tap to be provided at proper height so that bucket can be filled.
The railways also pointed out that the first cabin near the bathing room shall be provided with two hospital or plastic curtains transversely in the aisle so that the entry and exit to the entire eight berth cabins can be screened off.”This cabin will be used as store or paramedics area. Two Oxygen cylinders will also be provided by the Medical department for which suitable clamping arrangement on the side berth side of this cabin is to be provided,” it said.The railways said that both middle berths are to be removed in each cabin and extra bottle holders shall be provided in each cabin for holding medical equipment, two for each berth.