The Indian Railways has deployed 503 isolation coaches in Delhi at nine stations days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah made the announcement as part of measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said on Wednesday (June 17).
The units are among the 960 converted coaches deployed in five states in an effort to augment medical care facilities for patients of the coronavirus disease.
While Delhi’s Anand Vihar railway station has got the largest share, with 267 such coaches deployed at its seven platforms, there are 50 each in Shakur Basti and Sarai Rohilla, officials said.
The national transporter has deployed 33 coaches at Delhi Cantonment, 30 at Adarsh Nagar, 21 at Safdarjung, 13 each at Tughlaqabad and Shahdara, and 26 at the Patel Nagar stations, according to the officials.
These coaches can be used in areas where the state has exhausted the facilities and needs to augment capacities for isolation of suspected and confirmed cases, according to an integrated COVID-19 plan by the Health Ministry and the NITI Aayog.
The coaches can be used for very mild cases that can be clinically assigned to the coronavirus care centres, the Health Ministry guidelines stated.
Delhi is second only to Maharashtra in terms of both confirmed cases and coronavirus deaths, with a tally of 44,688 infections and 1,837 fatalities.
Amid the alarming rise in cases, Shah had on Sunday announced a slew of measures, including providing 500 railway coaches, which will be equipped with all facilities for treatment of the COVID-19 patients.
A total of 960 isolation coaches have been deployed so far — 503 in Delhi, 372 in Uttar Pradesh, 60 in Telangana, 20 in Andhra Pradesh and five in Madhya Pradesh, the officials said.
Twenty coaches each have been deployed in Secunderabad, Kacheguda, and Adilabad in Telangana, and Vijayawada stations in Andhra Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh has got five such coaches in Gwalior.
Uttar Pradesh, which had raised a demand for 243 coaches, got 372, according to data provided by the officials.
The railway workshop at Jhansi station has received 52 isolation coaches, while Lucknow got 37, and Mau and Bhatni have been allocated 24 each. Kanpur has been allotted 22 coaches, Agra 20, and Jhansi 15.
Twelve coaches each have been placed at Varanasi city, Bareilly, Farrukhabad, Kasganj, Gonda, Nakha Jungle, Nautanwa, Bahraich, and Manduadih.
Ten coaches each have been deployed at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction, Varanasi, Bhadohi, Faizabad, Saharanpur, Mirzapur, and Subedarganj.
The coaches have necessary medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders, blankets, medical supplies, sterilised berths for the safety and convenience of the individuals placed in isolation.
According to the Railways Ministry, these coaches-turned-isolation wards would been quipped with mosquito nets, charging points for laptop and phones. The toilets have been modified into bathrooms.
These coaches have been modified at a cost of ₹2 lakh each. Some of these coaches were ready for deployment by April 11, officials said.
In areas with high temperature, the Railways will also insulate the roofs to bring down the temperature inside these non-air-conditioned coaches.
India registered the highest-ever single-day spike of 2,003 COVID-19 deaths, taking the death toll to 11,903 on Wednesday, while the cases mounted to 3,54,065 with 10,974 new infections, the Health Ministry said.
(With inputs from agencies)