Covid-19: How Indian Railways is transforming coaches into isolation wards


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With cases of coronavirus escalating in the country, the government has come up with measures including converting number of places into isolation wards. In view of this, Indian railways, the operator of the fourth-biggest network in the world, has started converting more than 5,000 train coaches into isolation wards, fearing the country may not have adequate infrastructure to combat the pandemic.



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"Out of the 17 railway zones in India, the Railway Board has asked Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) and the Northern Railway to modify train coaches into isolation wards on experimental basis to deal with patients of novel coronavirus," the NFR Chief Public Relations Officer Subhanan Chanda told IANS.

He said such a plan can help the government and all other authorities to be well-prepared to meet any emergency.



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Chanda said a non-AC sleeper coach is already converted into an isolation ward for probable patients suffering from COVID-19.

Besides, mosquito nets and charging points have also been fitted, and space for paramedics is also allocated



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"Each cabin of a coach has been converted into an independent isolation ward which will accommodate one patient. There are nine such cabins in one coach. One of the four toilets of the coach has been converted into a bathroom with facility for shower," the NFR official said.

He said that insulated bamboo sheets were put up on the roof and the side walls of the modified coach for reducing the heat transfer and temperature inside the converted isolation wards.



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"If the railway coaches, experimentally converted into isolation wards, become purposeful to deal with the COVID-19 patients, then the railway board might ask all the 17 zones to modify more coaches to convert into isolation wards," chanda said.

Besides, the railway is also considering hiring more doctors or re-employing retired medical staff to deal with the pandemic.



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Prototypes of Isolation coach for Covid-19 have been made by the Railways at Kamakhya in Assam and New Delhi.

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