Amid rising Coronavirus cases in the country, Indian Railways is finally prepared to modify 20000 coaches into quarantine/ isolation coaches to accommodate 3.2 lakhs beds, announced Health Ministry's Joint Secretary Luv Aggarwal on Thursday. This comes days after the Railway board on a letter to general managers of zonal railways, said that initially 5,000 coaches will be converted into isolation wards and asked them to make preparations for it. Earlier, work began on the modification of 5000 coaches.
The @RailMinIndia is prepared to modify 20,000 coaches to accommodate 3.2 lakh possible isolation/quarantine beds. Modification on 5000 coaches is underway, which will create 80,000 beds.@PiyushGoyal#COVID19 #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/mGckDmwK89— #IndiaFightsCorona (@COVIDNewsByMIB) April 2, 2020
Earlier on March 28, in the visuals of a prototype of the isolation coach, it can be seen that a Non-AC coach has been modified with both the middle & upper berth removed, plastic curtains fitted in each patient cabin, a separate cabin for the medicos, a modified bathroom with increased tap height and many more facilities. One coach is said to handle up to eight patients and can handle 16 patients if the situation arises.
In its official statement, the railways had said: "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."