In its bid to be prepared for the repercussions of COVID-19, Indian Railways asserted that it would be prepared to modify 20000 coaches into quarantine/ isolation coaches to augment the quarantine facilities being created in the country. This comes after the Railway board on a letter to general managers of zonal railways on Monday, said that initially 5,000 coaches will be converted into isolation wards and asked them to make preparations for it. Work on modification of 5000 coaches, which are to be converted initially into quarantine/ isolation coaches has already started. These 5000 coaches would be having the capacity to accommodate up to 80000 beds. One coach is expected to have 16 beds for isolation.
As per the official statement, consultations were held with Armed Forces Medical Services, Medical Department of various Zonal Railways, and Ayushman Bharat, Ministry of Health, Government of India. Five Zonal Railways have already prepared prototypes for the quarantine/ isolation coaches. These modified 20000 coaches can accommodate up to 3.2 lac possible beds for isolation needs.
Only Non-AC ICF sleeper coaches are being planned to be utilised for conversion into Quarantine/ isolation coaches. One Indian style toilet is to be converted into a bathing room. It is to be equipped with a bucket, mug and soap dispenser. Taps with lift type handle would be provided in washbasins. A similar tap to be provided at the proper height so that the bucket can be filled.
The first cabin near the bathing room shall be provided with two hospitals or plastic curtains transversely in the aisle so that the entry and exit to the entire eight berth cabins can be screened off. This cabin will be used as a store/paramedics area. Two Oxygen cylinders will also be provided by the Medical department for which suitable clamping arrangement on the side berth side of this cabin is to be provided.
Both middle berths are to be removed in each cabin. Extra bottle holders shall be provided in each cabin for holding medical equipment, two for each berth. Extra 3 peg coat hooks, 2 per cabin to be provided. Mosquito net to be provided on windows to avoid mosquito entry inside and have proper ventilation too. Each cabin will be provided with 3 dustbins with foot-operated lids of Red, Blue, and Yellow Colour suitably lined with garbage bags.
For insulation of the coaches, Bamboo/Khus mats may be affixed/ pasted on the roof and each side of the coach above and below windows to shield the effect of heat inside the coach. All charging points for laptop and mobile to be functional. It must be ensured that all amenity fittings are in place whenever the coaches are requisitioned.
Meanwhile, The Union Health Ministry said the death toll due to COVID-19 has risen to 32 and the number of total Coronavirus cases to 1,251 as on Tuesday. There are 1117 active cases in the country with the state of Kerala contributing the highest number of cases which stands at 202.
(With PIB sources)