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Railways has deployed 960 isolation coaches in five states, say officials

New Delhi: The Railways has deployed 960 isolation coaches in five states in an effort to augment medical care facilities for patients of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), officials said on Wednesday.

These coaches can be used in areas where the state has exhausted the facilities and needs to augment capacities for isolation of suspected and confirmed cases, according to an integrated COVID-19 plan by the Health Ministry and the NITI Aayog. The coaches can be used for very mild cases that can be clinically assigned to the Coronavirus care centres, the Health Ministry guidelines stated.

Amid the alarming rise in cases, Home Minister Amit Shah had on Sunday announced a slew of measures, including providing 500 railway coaches, which will be equipped with all facilities for treatment of the COVID-19 patients.

A total of 960 isolation coaches have been deployed so far — 503 in Delhi, 372 in Uttar Pradesh, 60 in Telangana, 20 in Andhra Pradesh and five in Madhya Pradesh, the officials said. Twenty coaches each have been deployed in Secunderabad, Kacheguda and Adilabad in Telangana, and Vijayawada stations in Andhra Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh has got five such coaches in Gwalior.

Uttar Pradesh, which had raised a demand for 243 coaches, got 372 according to data provided by the officials.

The railway workshop at Jhansi station has received 52 isolation coaches, while Lucknow got 37, and Mau and Bhatni have been allocated 24 each. Kanpur has been allotted 22 coaches, Agra 20 and Jhansi 15. Twelve coaches each have been placed at Varanasi city, Bareilly, Farrukhabad, Kasganj, Gonda, Nakha Jungle, Nautanwa, Bahraich and Manduadih. Ten coaches each have been deployed at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction, Varanasi, Bhadohi, Faizabad, Saharanpur, Mirzapur and Subedarganj.

The coaches have necessary medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders, blankets, medical supplies, sterilised berths for the safety and convenience of the individuals placed in isolation.

According to the Railways Ministry, these coaches-turned-isolation wards would be equipped with mosquito nets, charging points for laptop and phones. The toilets have been modified into bathrooms.

These coaches have been modified at a cost of Rs 2 lakh each. Some of these coaches were ready for deployment by April 11, officials said.

In areas with high temperature, the Railways will also insulate the roofs to bring down the temperature inside these non-air-conditioned coaches.

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