The Railways will deploy 200 more isolation coaches for coronavirus patients in Delhi on Tuesday, taking their total number in the national capital to 250, officials said Monday.
After directions from Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Railways on Monday deployed 40 isolation coaches at Shakurbasti Railway Station, where it already had 10.
Officials said 180 coaches will be deployed at Anand Vihar Railway Station from Tuesday and 20 more at other stations in the national capital.
On Sunday, the Northern Railways issued orders reserving its seven platforms at the Anand Vihar Railway Station for COVID-19 care coaches and moved its five trains scheduled to be operated from there to the Old Delhi Railway station.
The Railways on Monday said it has formed a joint team with the Delhi government to identify locations for the deployment of the 500 COVID care coaches which have been given to the capital city, which has seen a spike in number of coronavirus cases.
It recorded 1,647 fresh cases on Monday, taking the tally in the city to 42,829, and the death toll due to the disease climbed to 1,400, authorities said.
Seventy-three fatalities have been recorded in the last 24 hours, the Delhi health department said in a bulletin late Monday evening.
Chairman Railway Board, VK Yadav said on Monday that each of the COVID care centres will be under the care of the chief medical officer of the state.
"We have already placed 10 coaches in Delhi's Shakurbasti on May 31 and we placed 40 more yesterday. So, 50 coaches with 800 beds are read to be occupied. We have earmarked 500 coaches for Delhi and we are jointly working with the Delhi government to finalise locations.
"A joint team is working on it. The main objective is for the centre and the state government to work as a team and see that we succeed in fighting the pandemic," Yadav said.
Yadav also said that each COVID care centre at every location will be linked to the nearest hospital so that patients can be moved there quickly in case of an emergency.
He also said that the Railways has appointed nodal officers for each state who will liaison with the local government for such isolation coaches.
Each of the isolation coaches have capacity to hold 16 beds.
Yadav, however, said that the suspected and confirmed patients will be kept in separate coaches.
He also said that these coaches are meant to be used when the health infrastructure of states gets exhausted due to any sudden spike in COVID-19 cases.
According to the integrated COVID-19 plan developed by the health ministry and the NITI Aayog, these coaches can be used in areas where the state has exhausted the facilities and needs to augment capacities for isolation of both suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The train coaches have all necessary medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders, blankets, medical supplies, sterilized berths for the safety and convenience of the individuals placed in isolation.
According to the Railway Ministry, these coaches-turned-isolation wards will be equipped with mosquito nets, charging points for laptops and phones. The toilets also have been modified into bathrooms.
These coaches have been modified at a cost of Rs 2 lakh each. Some of these coaches were ready for deployment by April 11, officials said.
States like Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi requisitioned these coaches two months after the national transporter converted over 5,000 of its non-air conditioned coaches into COVID care centers.
While 70 such coaches have been deployed in Uttar Pradesh, 60 have been stationed in Telangana, and 20 in Andhra Pradesh's Vijayawada.