The Railway Board has asked zonal railways to ensure preparedness for 20,000 rail coaches as isolation wards for patients affected by Covid-19, as number of positive cases rise in the country.
Around 16 Zones of the Indian railways will initially start with converting 5,000 coaches into isolation units, sources close to the matter said.
“The (Railway) Board has asked zones to be prepared to convert around 20,000 coaches as isolation units if need arises,” an official aware of developments told ET.
“They have been asked to ready 5,000 coaches to begin with,” the official said, without indicating the timeline for the same.
Indian Railways is planning to initially modify 5,000 passenger coaches to meet the requirement of any possible exigency of keeping some corona patients in isolation as and when required by the government, the railway ministry said in a statement.
More than 6,500 beds at Railway hospitals will also be made available for Covid-19 patients, the statement added.
“We have started the work on conversion of 5,000 coaches immediately, and these will be ready in a month, at best,” a second official said. “We are seriously pursuing this, learning from global statistics, and preparing accordingly,” the official added.
The Indian Railways on Saturday readied a prototype of train coaches that can be used as isolation units for Covid-19 patients.