In the initial phase, Indian Railways has directed to convert 5,000 train coaches. The process for conversion has already started and these coaches will be able to accommodate upto 80,000 beds.
Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is ready with its big plan to convert as many as 20,000 train coaches into isolation wards for providing COVID-19 quarantine facilities. For finalizing this plan, the Railway Board held consultations with the medical departments of various railway zones, Armed Forces Medical Services, Ayushman Bharat as well as the Ministry of Health. Recently, the Railway Board had ordered all the railway zones to initiate the preparations for converting 20,000 train coaches into quarantine facilities. Five railway zones have prepared the prototypes for creating these isolation wards.
Indian Railways train coaches as isolation wards: Top 10 facts
According to the Railway Ministry, the details of the isolation wards which are being prepared by the national transporter are as follows:
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- These 20,000 train coaches which will be modified into quarantine facilities, will be able to accommodate as many as 3.2 lakh possible beds for facilitating individuals or patients in quarantine.
- In the initial phase, Indian Railways has directed to convert 5,000 train coaches. The process for conversion has already started and these coaches will be able to accommodate upto 80,000 beds. One such coach is expected to include a total of 16 beds for isolation.
- Only the non air conditioned ICF sleeper train coaches have to be utilized for conversion into quarantine or isolation coaches. One toilet, built in Indian style, is to be modified into a bathing room. The toilet has to be equipped with a bucket, mug and a soap dispenser. The water taps with the lift type handles will be provided in the wash basins. Similar taps will be provided at a proper height so that the buckets can be filled with water.
- The very first cabin near the bathing room will be equipped with two hospital style plastic curtains, placed transversely in the aisle area, so that the entry as well as exit to all eight berth cabins can be completely screened off.
- This particular cabin can be utilized as a store or paramedics area. The medical department of the railway zone will provide two oxygen cylinders, for which a suitable clamping arrangement on the side berth in the cabin should be provided.
- Both of the middle berths need to be detached and removed in each cabin. In order to hold the medical equipment, extra bottle holders will be provided, namely two holders for each berth. Extra peg coat hooks will be provided, with two hooks per cabin. The windows will be covered with mosquito nets for restricting the entry of insects or mosquitoes.
- Each cabin in the isolation ward will be provided with three dustbins, which will be operated by foot. The lids of the dustbins will be red, blue and yellow in colour. The dustbins must be lined with clean garbage bags.
- Bamboo or khus mats should be affixed or pasted on the roof and each side of the train coach as well as above and below the windows in order to shield any heat or dust from entering the coach.
- In these coaches-turned isolation wards, all the laptop and mobile charging points must be functional. The Railway Board has also directed that when the train coaches are being requisitioned, all the amenity fittings are in place
- The Director General of the Railway Health Services will further issue a detailed SOP or standard operating procedure for these quarantine coaches. All the railway zones have been directed to plan the modifications of train coaches and inform the status of the rakes to the Railway Board.
Zone-wise details of number of train coaches to be converted into isolation wards :