As the number of coronavirus cases rose to over 90 in India, railways have declared the removal of all curtains and blankets from AC coaches in trains.
The announcement was made by the public relations officer of Central and Western Railways on Saturday in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. "As per the extant instructions, curtains and blankets provided in AC coaches are not washed every trip," the announcement said. "In order to prevent spread of #COVID19 blankets and curtains should be immediately withdrawn from service till further orders".
Kindly note that it has been decided to withdraw curtains & blankets from AC coaches of trains as they are not washed every trip, for prevention of #coronavirus. Passengers may please bring their own blankets if need be. Inconvenience is regretted. @RailMinIndia @PiyushGoyalOffc— Western Railway (@WesternRly) March 14, 2020
Western Railway PRO (Public Relations Officer): As per the extant instructions, curtains and blankets provided in AC coaches are not washed every trip. In order to prevent spread of #COVID19 blankets and curtains should be immediately withdrawn from service till further orders. pic.twitter.com/EhTHrP5gkL— ANI (@ANI) March 14, 2020
The announcement comes amid increased precautions taken by the Railway ministry to contain the spread of COVID-19 which has killed over 5,000 people worldwide. Taking to Twitter on Saturday, union minister Piyush Goyal shared images of train coaches being cleaned.
Railways is taking unprecedented precautions to prevent the spread of Novel #Coronavirus infection.The railway stations and trains are being sanitised to ensure utmost hygiene, making travel safe for passengers. pic.twitter.com/GGTqFjOcS8— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) March 14, 2020
Cleaning is being done of all passenger interface areas/ components in railway coaches such as door handles, berth grab handles, wash basins, entry door & partition door handles during primary maintenance of coaches in coaching depots of Central Railway. #Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/aK2oPx60dF— ANI (@ANI) March 13, 2020
While the news may be reassuring for many, the announcements instantly ticked off netizens who wondered why the railways had to wait for a pandemic to become conscious of hygiene matters. Following the nan on curtains and blankets, many others even demanded that the price of AC train tickets should also be reduced as the ticket prices include all facilities and amenities provided on the train.
Indian Railways does not wash the blankets after every use. They now wash them twice a month. Earlier they used to wash them once every two months. #coronavirusindia #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/lgk2ZWY0bn— 486958 Arrokoth (@debguharoy) March 14, 2020
Finally the Railways admits to not washing blankets after every trip — Annabelle D'Costa (@annabelledcosta) March 14, 2020
I think you meant only the curtains. How come used blankets are issued?— Krish Sriram (@anavrittim) March 15, 2020
The Railway Ministry's official Twitter handle even shared memes based on a popular Bollywood song to spread awareness about no touching during coronavirus.