The Railways will insulate the roofs of COVID-19 isolation coaches deployed in areas which experience high temperatures to make their interiors cooler and more comfortable for patients, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said on Monday.
The Railways has so far deployed 204 isolation coaches in four states to work as COVID-19 care centres. The Railways' isolation wards are all non-AC coaches.
"In areas where the temperature is too high, roof insulation can be provided to bring down the temperature inside the coaches," said Yadav, adding that since May 1, the Railways has run 4,450 Shramik Special trains, carrying more than 60 lakh migrant workers home.
"The insulation bit is an additional requirement that the Railways is striving to provide. The patients should be managed within the given infrastructure. These coaches are suitable for transporting passengers from rural areas to the nearest hospital as well," he said.
He also said the suspected and confirmed Covid-19 patients will be kept in separate Covid coaches and these coaches are meant to be used when the health infrastructure of states gets exhausted due to any sudden spike in Covid-19 cases across the country.
The isolation coaches will be under the complete care of the chief medical officer of the state government, in the states where they will be deployed, he said.
For national capital Delhi, at least 50 coaches with 800 beds have already been stationed at Shakur Basti railway station but none of them are in use so far.
"Another 500 more such isolation coaches for Covid-19 patients have to be deployed in Delhi and we are finalising the stations where they can be kept," Yadav said.
The special train coaches, after formation shall be cleaned, and disinfected as per protocol for disinfection of quarantine facilities issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The railways will designate state-wise nodal officers for allocation of trains and for coordinating with the respective state/UT governments.
After the allocation by the Railways, the train shall be placed, at required station with necessary infrastructure, and handed over to district collector/district magistrate or one of their authorised persons.
The state government shall map at least one dedicated hospital for each train so that patient can be shifted to the hospital in case of emergency.
When the train is handed back to Railways, the staff deployed for the train shall ensure all biomedical waste bins are cleaned and emptied; the train cleaned and disinfected, and then handed over to authorised staff after tallying the inventory. The Railway staff shall again disinfect the train as per protocol issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
(With inputs from PTI)