With hospital beds almost filled up and the number of Coronavirus patients shooting up, the Indian Railways is gearing up to convert its coaches into isolation wards. The Indian railways have now suspended all its services because of the national lock down.
The Indian railways run about 14,000 trains daily. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal discussed the conversion of empty coaches into isolation wards with Chairman Railway Board V K Yadav in video conferencing. General Managers of all zones and Divisional Railway Managers were also present at the video conferencing.
The discussion was held in the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling all his cabinet colleagues to think of dealing with the coronavirus. Railway Chairman V K Yadav said that the cabins and coaches could be converted into makeshift hospital on wheels. They could have consultation rooms, ICU and medical store. The coaches and cabins could be rolled to places where there is much need.
The whole train could be converted into a hospital with the patients as well as the health workers. The officials have been asked to identify the places in their divisions where these trains could be parked.
Meanwhile, the Western railway official told a media that they have already identified the locations. The official also said that there was an idea to convert all pantry cars available into mobile kitchens to provide food to the quarantined. Apart from this, the pantry car could also be used to provide food to those who will be in the train hospitals.
The World health Organisation said that India has only 0.7 beds per 1,000 people.