Gearing up for an increased number of coronavirus patients, the South Western Railways is in process of forming makeshift isolation wards consisting of an estimated 2400 berths in 312 coaches. The coaches are set to be ready by April 15, the day the 3-week lockdown to contain the transmission of the novel coronavirus ends.
The modification is being done as part of the Indian Railways’ plan to convert 5,000 passenger coaches into isolation wards in case number of COVID 19 patients surge.
“The work has begun today (Tuesday) with around 240 staff in Hubli, Mysuru, and Bengaluru working on them. As many as eight personnel has been deployed to work on each coach. The isolation wards will be ready for use by April 15,” SWR Chief Public Relations Officer E Vijaya told Indianexpress.com.
She added while 120 coaches each will be modified to isolation wards in Hubballi and Mysuru workshops, 18 coaches each will be worked on at Hubbali depot, Bengaluru depot, Yeshwantpur depot, and Mysuru depot respectively. Each coach will undergo numerous changes to ensure all facilities are made in a resourceful manner, SWR stated.
Some of the modifications include removal of middle berths and ladders to ensure comfort and better space, installing plastic transparent air-curtains for isolation and screening, fixing bottle-holders in each compartment for holding medical equipment and water bottles, installation of electric sockets for operating electrical equipment, providing two bathrooms and two lavatories (one Indian and one Western) diagonally in each coach, among others.
“Provision is being made for charging points of mobiles and laptops. Mosquito nets with space for paramedics are also being ensured,” an official added.
“The efforts of Indian Railways have been aimed not only to supplement the present health infrastructure of the nation but also to contribute to national efforts to fight the coronavirus,” SWR said in a statement.
Earlier, consultations were held with Armed Forces Medical Services, Medical Department of Railways and Ayushman Bharath after which the coach isolation prototype was been issued by the Railway Board on Monday (March 30).
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