Unique COVID-19 quarantine facility:  Trains turn into Isolation Wards
COVID-19, Feature Articles

Unique COVID-19 quarantine facility: Trains turn into Isolation Wards

April 3, 2020

Mysuru Division to convert 138 coaches; one coach likely to be ready by this evening 

In an innovative method to support the State Governments for facilitating Coronavirus quarantine measures, on Mar. 28, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced that his team could convert coaches of some trains into Isolation Wards. “Railways will offer clean, sanitised and hygienic surroundings for the patients to comfortably recover,” Goyal said.

The Railways’ workshops and depots, including the ones in Mysuru, responsible for maintaining coach fleet have come forward to fulfil the requirement of beds and other kinds of furniture for Isolation Wards to provide facilities to quarantine against the outbreak of Coronavirus.

South Western Railway (SWR) will convert 312 coaches into Isolation Wards. While the Hubballi and Mysuru workshops will handle 120 coaches each, Hubballi Depot, Bengaluru Depot, Yesvantpur Depot and Mysuru Depot will handle 18 coaches each. 

The sleeper class coaches are being modified as per prototype issued by Railway Board to make them suitable to act as quarantine hubs. These coaches are clean, sanitised and have hygienic surroundings for the patients to comfortably recover.

Indian Railways is planning to initially modify 5,000 passenger coaches to meet the requirement of any possible exigency of keeping some COVID-19 patients in isolation as and when required by the Government. In this connection, consultations were held with Armed Forces Medical Services, Medical Department of Railways and Ayushman Bharath.  This coach isolation prototype was issued by Railway Board on Mar. 30.  

The coaches will be equipped with basic facilities needed as per medical guidelines. Provision is being made for charging points of mobiles and laptops.  Mosquito nets with space for paramedics etc., are also being ensured. Each coach will provide eight-berth cabin for isolation facility. Zonal Railways have been advised to prepare coaches as per isolation cabin prototype to meet the needs of the patients by Railway Board.

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Among the parameters taken care during conversion are, middle berths, ladders removed to ensure comfort and better space, plastic transparent air curtains for isolation, screening, bottle holders in each compartment for holding medical equipment, first cabin near bathroom provided with two plastic curtains transversely in the aisle so that the entry and exit to the entire eight-berth cabin can be sealed off.

Oxygen cylinder will be provided by the medical department for which suitable clamping arrangement on the side berth of this cabin will be provided and sockets will be provided for operating electrical equipment. Two bathrooms and two toilets will be provided diagonally in the coach and one overhead shower can be operated through roof-mounted handle.

A press release from the Railways said that a total of 138 coaches will get ready in Central Workshops Ashokapuram Mysuru and CDO Office Mysuru and most probably one coach is likely to be ready by today evening. 

Calling doctors, staff nurses, pharmacists

South Westaern Railway Hospital in Mysuru is one of the designated hospitals in city for testing, treatment and isolation of COVID-19 patients. In view of this, 8 doctors, 12 staff nurses and 2 pharmacists, meeting the eligible criteria, will be engaged on contractual basis for a period of three months. 

The walk-in-interview will be held in the Office of the Chief Medical Superintendent, South Western Railways, Mysuru, KRS Road, Yadavagiri, from Apr. 3 to Apr. 10 between  3 pm and 6 pm.

Remuneration for doctors will be Rs. 75,000 per month, Rs. 44,900 for staff nurses and Rs. 29,200 per month for pharmacists. Full details of the notification is available on website: http://www.swr.indianrailways.gov.in

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