Amid rising cases of coronavirus in the country, the state governments have started using the railway coaches converted into isolation units for coronavirus patients. At least 59 patients were admitted into Indian Railway's COVID-care coaches in last one week.
On June 20, 42 suspected patients were admitted in COVID coaches deployed at Mau Junction in Varanasi division, the Indian Railways said in a statement. As many as 17 people came to railway's isolation units for treatment on June 21. Eight of them were discharged later, the railway ministry said.
Till now, the national transporter has deployed 960 COVID-care coaches in five states — Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh. Over 500 railway coaches have been allotted in Delhi, 372 in Uttar Pradesh, 20 in Andhra Pradesh, 60 in Telangana and five in Madhya Pradesh. Following the health ministry guidelines, the state governments have urged the railways to allocate isolation coaches for COVID-19 treatment.
These railway coaches can be used for very mild cases that can be clinically assigned to the COVID care centres, according to the guidelines released by the ministry of health and family welfare. Clean toilets, colour-coded dustbins, comfortable beds, oxygen cylinders — railways' COVID care coaches have all amenities one can expect in a top class hospital. "Indian Railways is making an all out effort to supplement the health care efforts of state governments," the national transporter said. When the state governments need to increase the number of beds for coronavirus treatments, these railways coaches will come handy.
Railways plans to deploy two officers for each location of coaches to assist state government officials. "All efforts are being made to reduce the heat in the coaches in the given weather conditions," the ministry said in a statement.
Indian Railways today announced cancel all tickets booked for regular trains on or before April 14. The transporter will soon start generating refund for those tickets.