Railways' Covid centres in Delhi receive first cases; Army medical corps roped in

New Delhi: Coronavirus isolation coaches deployed in New Delhi received their first occupants on Wednesday, when two patients were admitted in the Railways' COVID-19 care centre at the Shakur Basti station, officials said. About 15 more are expected by the end of day, they said, as the ambulance carrying the first coronavirus patient arrived at the station in the morning. The second patient arrived soon after.

The first admissions happened in these coaches modified to work as COVID-19 Care Centres on the day the total number of coronavirus cases in the city crossed the 70,000-mark. No relatives were allowed to follow the patients inside and the entire area resembled a containment zone, the station secured like a fort by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel.

While the main gate of the station has been shut, all other gates are being manned by RPF personnel. The open areas adjoining the isolation coaches have been covered with green nets to block onlookers out. The first patient, who will stay here for the mandatory 14-day or leave early if his test reports are negative, will be provided with food and linen by the Railways.

The Army Medical Corps will be in charge of their healthcare, Northwest District Magistrate Sandeep Mishra said. He said only confirmed positive cases who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms will be kept in these coaches.

Around 50 such modified coaches are currently stationed at the Shakur Basti railway station's maintenance depot, the officials said, adding that each coach has 16 beds. The Northern Railways said that the Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital, Pitampura, New Delhi, is the primary facility under which the coaches at this station will work.

The hospital will provide requisite medicines, medical equipment and material along with coach attendants. Coach sanitation and waste segregation and disposal will also be the responsibility of the hospital. DM Mishra said that 10 coaches have been made operational on a trial basis, with five each on two platforms. "If the trial is successful, the facility will be replicated at other places."

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