Indian Railways has so far converted over 2,500 coaches into isolation wards since the nationwide lockdown began due to coronavirus outbreak.
The Eastern Railways has also taken part in the initiative to convert 50 sleeper coaches into isolation wards for COVID-19 patients. The coaches which will be made ready by April 14 are spread over an area of 400-500 kms under the jurisdiction of Eastern Railways.
The coaches are heavily modified in order to turn them into proper isolation wards. The middle berths are removed to provide more space to patients and the side berths are modified for keeping medicines, reports and other items. The windows are covered with mosquito nets and transparent plastic curtains are used to separate the beds.Also read: Coronavirus Live Updates: UP govt to seal 15 districts till April 13; Noida, Varanasi to be under lockdown
These train coaches-cum-isolation wards will be placed in junctions with regular water and electricity supply and will have 2,000 litre of water stored for emergency needs. The isolation wards are being prepared only as a contingency and to supplement the efforts of the Ministry of Health in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The coaches will be equipped as per medical advisories issued and will have required amenities for patients, doctors and caregivers.
Sanjay Chatterjee, SSE, Tikiapara Coaching Yard said, "We accept the challenges to combat COVID-19. The directive was to convert the coaches into isolation wards. We removed the middle berth, fitted new bottle holders and bags for keeping medical equipment. We have also fitted new electrical points that are ready to use for any monitors which can be required for treating the patients. We have also converted one lavatory in each coach to shower rooms where we have fitted with hand showers and other amenities for the patients."
On average, 375 coaches are being converted by Indian Railways in a day. The work is being carried out at 133 locations across the country.