The national transporter has decided to create its own testing mechanism, in view of the fact that almost 50 per cent of its own hospital beds have now been dedicated for COVID-19 patients.
Indian Railways to create COVID-19 test centres! In another initiative to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Railways has allocated a sum of Rs 300 crore for creating its own COVID-19 test centres, according to an IE report. Thousands of Indian Railways officials and staff are currently engaged, working on the frontlines, to maintain the delivery of the essential services and related activities, even in the face of the Coronavirus outbreak. The national transporter has decided to create its own testing mechanism, in view of the fact that almost 50 per cent of its own hospital beds have now been dedicated for COVID-19 patients. For preparing the COVID-19 test centres, it has recognized a sum of Rs 300 crore for funding it, the report said.
Indian Railways has around 13 lakh employees and also, an equal number pensioners along with their families, who are presently the direct beneficiaries of the Indian Railways health services. According to the report, two railway employees from West Bengal, have succumbed to the corona virus infection, while one female doctor from the state of Tamil Nadu, has tested positive for COVID-19.
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The country is facing a shortage of the diagnostic kits, which are the RT Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) kits. Several foreign companies have specified a high global demand for the PCR kits. Meanwhile, only two Indian firms have till now, been validated by the government lab in Pune for producing the COVID-19 testing kits. Considering this situation, the Railway Board has instructed all the zones to look into the funds available, for exploring ways to procure the PCR testing kits for dealing with COVID-19.
Sources quoted in the report stated that it was internally pointed out that Indian Railways does not have its own testing capability, even after owning a huge healthcare apparatus- having 45 sub divisional hospitals, 586 health units, 56 divisional hospitals, 16 zonal hospitals and eight hospitals in production units. Indian Railways has dedicated around 50 of its hospitals for COVID-19 treatment with 5000 dedicated beds. Recently, the Railway Board also decided to allocate 2500 doctors and 35,000 paramedical staff for handling COVID-19 cases in its hospitals. It is also in the process of recruiting more number of doctors and paramedical staff on temporary basis, at the various zonal railways.