Indian Railways To Convert Its Coaches Into Isolation Wards For Rural Areas; Plans To Manufacture Ventilators  Indian Railways LHB sleeper coach (Superfast111/Wikimedia Commons)

In its preparedness to fight Covid-19, the Railways is contemplating the use of trains coaches and cabins for creating isolation wards in rural and remote areas.

Manufacturing of ventilators in the rail factories is one of the top agendas, as per reports. The railways had pressed into a steamed action to fight Covid-19 spread with the halting of its passenger services last week, and with round the clock activation of its freight services for a smooth flow of essential goods, last week.

According to this report, the proposal of using coaches was discussed in a video conference meeting of "Railway Minister with Chairman Railway Board VK Yadav, General Managers of all zones and Divisional Railway Managers over video conferencing on Wednesday."

The discussion in the meeting led to some ideas on how the railways’ production units could be put to use for manufacturing the essentials that are needed for fighting the spread of Covid-19. These essentials include fully equipped coaches required for isolation of Covid-19 positive patients, ventilators, beds, and trolleys.

The Indian Express says in its report: While the Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in Kapurthala has been tasked with the duty of converting LHB coaches into isolation wards, the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, the makers of Train 18 (India’s first electric semi-high speed train), is attempting to manufacture ventilators.

The Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala (Punjab) will be preparing a prototype. This will be done by converting an existing Link Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches which are used for passenger trains, into a non air conditioned (AC) isolation ward.

It will be non AC to suit the sanitation purposes required for fighting a communicable disease such as Covid-19. A layout is under preparation.

Decision on the number of patients in each coach considering some vital factors required for the facility, such as the distance between each patient, essential equipment for monitoring, the use of toilet and hygiene, will be taken. Finalising of the design will lead to the visualising and placing of aspects and details of an isolation ward in a short time for, what could be, a long battle against Covid-19.

According to an anonymous source in the report, “the instructions are to achieve preparedness and be on standby."

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