New Delhi (NVI): As the number of coronavirus cases in India is rising, Indian Railways is proposing to convert train coaches into isolation wards.
North Central Railway (NCR) General Manager Rajiv Chaudhary said the Railways are trying to convert a coach at the coaching depot in New Delhi into isolation wards after consulting medical professionals.
“A sleeper coach of a train is being converted and improvised into isolation wards for patients suffering from COVID- 19. Such a plan can help us be well-prepared to meet any emergency,” he added.
Apart from this, all Railway divisions are engaged to follow the move and have identified a ward or building for setting up isolation beds for COVID-19 patients.
The Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of NCR Ajeet Kumar Singh said, “NCR has taken necessary steps to ensure operational safety to mitigate any possibility of disruption in goods trains.”
Similarly, the North Indian Railway is considering an extension of the mandatory Paramedical Medical Examination (PME) of safety category and running staff to boost its medical facilities.
NCR is also giving training to its paramedical staff on for COVID-19 related procedures, especially ventilators.
Meanwhile, Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is working-class out a plan to serve meals in different parts of the country and hospitals, if the need arises.
The proposal to offer the empty coaches and cabins to be used as isolation wards were discussed in a meeting of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal with Chairman Railway Board V.K Yadav, General Managers of all zones and Divisional Railway Managers over video conferencing on March 25.
The idea was discussed after PM Narendra Modi in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday asked all the ministers to think for ways to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
As per the WHO, India has only 0.7 beds per 1,000 people. While it has targeted to increase this to two beds, WHO mandates for at least 3 beds per 1,000 people in every country.
However, Indian Railways runs 13,523 trains daily and has now suspended all passenger services till April 14 in view of the nationwide lockdown.