The Indian Railways will convert up to 20,000 coaches into isolation wards as part of its preparedness to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
The Railway Board in a letter to all the zonal general managers on Monday said that initially 5,000 coaches will be converted.
- The railways has held consultations with Armed Forces Medical Services, medical departments of various zonal railways, and Ayushman Bharat before taking the decision, it said.
- It said, 5 zonal railways have already prepared prototypes for the same.
- “As part of COVID-19 preparedness, it was advised in the video conference held on March 25 that a few rakes may be converted into quarantine/isolation coaches in consultation with the medical department, so as to augment the quarantine facilities being created. In this connection consultations were held with Armed Forces Medical Services, Medical Department of various zonal Railways, and Ayushman Bharat.”
- The letter said,”Indian Railways may be required to convert up to 20,000 such coaches, with 5,000 coaches to be converted initially into quarantine/isolation coaches. Only Non-AC ICF sleeper coaches are planned to be utilized after conversion into quarantine/isolation coach.”
- Also, the letter detailed the specifications of such isolation wards.
- It said,”2 oxygen cylinders will also be provided by the medical department for which suitable clamping arrangement on the side berth side of this cabin may be provided. Both middle berths to be removed in each cabin and extra bottle holders shall be provided in each cabin for holding medical equipment, 2 for each berth.”
- Also, the Director General Railway Health Services will issue detailed standard operating procedure for operation and use of these quarantine/isolation coaches/trains, it said.
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