Indian Railways has offered to join the fight against coronavirus.
On March 28, railway minister Piyush Goyal said his team could convert coaches of some trains into isolation wards. Following a nation-wide lockdown that began on March 25, Indian Railways has suspended train services across the country.
“Railways will offer clean, sanitised, and hygienic surroundings for the patients to comfortably recover,” Goyal said.
His team has readied one isolation cabin prototype and if that gets approved, the ministry plans to convert 10 coaches into such wards every week.
The move comes at a time when India is recording a constant spike in Covid-19 cases. As of today (March 30), there are over 940 active coronavirus cases in India.
Covid-19 patients should be housed in single rooms. But in case of space crunch, beds can be put with a spatial separation of at least one meter (three feet), as per the government’s guidelines on setting up isolation wards in the country (pdf).
Here are some images of Indian railways employees converting train coaches into quarantine facilities:
The Railways plans to remove all upper and middle berths from coaches to ensure comfort as well as sufficient distancing between patients.
The aisle and the bathroom areas have also been modified, including removing the ladders used for climbing on the upper berths.
The Railways’ workshops responsible for maintaining its fleet have also come forward to fulfil the requirement of beds and other kinds of furniture for isolation wards.