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Railways ready with plan to convert coaches into isolation wards, ICUs for Covid-19 patients

PM Modi has instructed the railways to turn some coaches into isolation wards, so that people in remote areas without medical facilities can be reached.

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New Delhi: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi instructed the Indian Railways to convert train coaches into isolation wards and ICUs to ensure healthcare access in remote areas in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the layout and design for the required modifications has been prepared.

The railways’ orders, accessed by ThePrint, state that a slew of modifications would be needed to convert rail coaches into isolation or ICU wards.

Some of the modifications that will be needed to turn the coaches into wards include removing the side partition next to the main door on each end, converting one Indian toilet on each side into a bathing room, removing middle berths, etc.

The way to convert toilets into bathing rooms would be “by placing wooden batten structure on the entire floor, which also covers the squatting pan”.

“A hand shower is to be provided and it is to be equipped with bucket, mug and soap dish also,” the orders state.

Among other modifications will be removing all ladders for climbing up to the middle and upper berths, using extra bottle holders for holding medical equipment, making functional all-charging points for laptops and mobiles, providing 230 V sockets in each cabin, and providing plastic curtains in each cabin to ensure isolation.

A senior official who did not wish to be named said that the orders will be notified by the Ministry of Railways Saturday.

Also read: How states are delivering mid-day meals to students during Covid-19 school closure

Rail coaches standing idle

ThePrint had reported Wednesday that PM Modi gave a go-ahead to the idea of turning coaches into isolation wards for Covid-19 patients since all towns have rail access. Trains with makeshift isolation wards will help serve areas that experience an outbreak but lack the requisite facilities.

The plan was considered feasible because rail coaches have been sitting idle since passenger train movement across the country stand cancelled until 14 April, even though freight operations continue for the transport of essential commodities.

Following the PM’s instructions, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Wednesday instructed top officials to start preparations.

Also read: Covid-19 casts shadow on 60-year-old India-Pakistan tradition that survived Uri, Pulwama


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  1. I had discussed about converting the railway coaches mainly the AC coaches into medical ward to keep the infected persons with my wife atleast a week ago, believe me. But I was worried about its sanitation. But, a BIG THANKS n SALUTE to our Loving n Caring Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi Ji for taking such initiatives.Dear Modi Sir , you are really God, you heard my thoughts planning. In this crucial period you are like God to us. I hope it was impossible to build wards for the patients .
    Thanks Sir, All Indian are with you. 😊

  2. The virus presumably is active in faeces for a few hours. How are you planning on maintaining sanitation?

  3. It is a measurable idea to implement by our honorable PM. Without delaying much and by not making too much physical changes if berths are used as beds and upper n lower berths can be used. Middle berth in sleepers can be used to keep necessary things required. AC coaches not much changes, minimum. One toilet can be made to bathroom. One coach for doctors, nurses to be modified as per their requirement and for storing medical equipments, medicines etc. All coaches to be cleaned and sanitized. Water should be stored. Train can be at the station of the respective place/ village. So that poor people/ villagers get the medical facilities. God bless 🙏🙏🙏 to our honorable PM. He is a God for our country right now 🙏 Everyone must support him to fulfill his wishes to save his countrymen. Jai Hind! !! Best wishes to all in this endeavour!! Kudos to railway! Please do the needful. Thanks 😊

  4. Good idea even though it’s late ut it’s always etter to be late than to be never… Also keep in mind to insulate the top of the coaches since it’ll be very hot and the inside of the coaches need to be kept as cool as possible. Please install heat dissipation features on each coach with high speed fans to lower the costs than air conditioning

  5. Indeed a wonderful idea…. Indian Railways are having so many coaches and these coaches are idle now.., the volunteers must raise to the occassion. GOVT.provide PPEs for the volunteers for rendering services for the people…. ..

  6. Good… Do Mask n Hand gloves for each passenger compulsory.
    Plz Restart train service.. Some people r stuck in lodge or hostel..

  7. Enclose metro lines with sun protection / coolent covers.
    Create beds of the size of a track
    Keep them across the line
    Disaster recovery scenario.

  8. Hope this situation doesnt come , it will definitely be a good condition , after a week as decision for lockdown is taken by the government , but the idea of rail coaches for isolation is best as it will help most of the places of india as isolation facility .

  9. It is a welcome step to prepare the trains into mobile isolation wards. Let us not waste time and energy for converting or physical modifications. Only washing and desensitize and let these trains be available at the designated stations.
    It is a disaster management issue.
    There may not be much time for any physical modifications.
    All need to pray god to save the mankind.

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