Indian Railways coaches can now house 40,000 Covid-19 patients
The Indian Railways has converted as many as 2,500 coaches into isolation wards for Covid-19 patients, the ministry announced on Monday. The coaches have a combined capacity of at least 40,000 beds, it added.
"In times of lockdown, when manpower resources are limited and have to be rationalised and rotated, different zones of Railways have almost done an impossible task of so many conversions in such a small span of time," a statement by the ministry said.
The ministry said that an average of 375 coaches are being converted into isolation wards in a day. "The work is being carried out at 133 locations in the country," it added.
Each coach can house 10 patients in separate bays of the non-AC coaches that have undergone a number of modifications.
These coaches, the ministry said, are equipped as per medical advisories issued. Efforts are underway to avoid inconvenience to patients and best medical supervision as per the needs and norms.
The Indian Express had on March 23 reported that this plan by the government was afoot as part of building capability to deal with more cases in the coming days. More than 100 accident relief medical vans lying with divisions and equipped with hospital facilities across India and even the Lifeline Express may be pressed into service, as per talks, sources said.
(Inputs and image from theindianexpress.com)