As the world continues to fight the deadly pandemic that is Covid-19, many countries are coming up with creative ways to quarantine and treat their citizens.
Social distancing measures and isolating patients have proven to be effective in curbing the spread of the virus. But, it’s not always that easy to implement these measures.
One common problem that many hard-hit nations face is the lack of hospital beds due to the increasing number of patients that come in daily.
India Is Turning Train Coaches Into Covid-19 Isolation Wards
India has found a way around this problem, by coming up with a rather creative solution.
By turning unused train coaches and cabins into isolation wards.
One train coach already has been turned into a prototype quarantine facility, according to Indian Railways, India’s national railway system.
Indian Railways has also said that ten coaches per week would be converted into isolation wards in every zone of railways in the country, once they get the clearance to do so. According to the company’s website, they currently have 16 zones.
This comes after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed the entire country on lockdown for three weeks, confining 1.3billion people to their homes.
Due to the lockdown, India’s trains are no longer operating and thus available to be converted into isolation wards.
Cabins Have Been Modified To Make Them More Suitable For Patients
According to Indian news agency ANI, several modifications have been made in the railway cabins to turn them into isolation wards.
There are two types of cabins: the patient’s cabin, and another cabin for the medical staff who are treating the infected.
For the patient’s cabin, the middle berth has been removed from one side, all three berths were removed in front of the patient berth, and all ladders for climbing up the berths have been removed.
The bathrooms, aisle areas and other areas have also been modified to prepare the Isolation Coach.
Apart from Indian Railways, other railway companies in India are also planning to help.
“The plan is that each cabin of the coach will hold one patient and if the situation demands then two patients in one cabin,” said a Southern Railways circular.
“Coaches which have exceeded 20 years may be taken for conversion. Materials required to convert more coaches should be kept ready,” it added.
The Northern Railways has been asked to conduct a feasibility study to access if it can modify non-air conditioned coaches and cabins as isolation wards to treat coronavirus patients, said PTI.
Prime Minister Apologises For Lockdown
Although the lockdown in India was necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19, it has taken a huge toll on the nation’s poor. More than a quarter of India’s population lives below the poverty line.
PM Narendra Modi apologised to the nation on Sunday, 29 Mar, via his monthly radio address, for imposing such a strict lockdown.
“I seek forgiveness .. I am sure you will forgive me that you had to undergo so much trouble. Some people will say what kind of prime minister is this, but these are special circumstances,” he said.
“You had to undergo problems, I understand, but there is no other way out to fight the coronavirus,” he added.
“This is a battle for life and death.”
India currently has 1,024 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 27 deaths. 95 patients have fully recovered and been discharged, while the rest are still seeking treatment.
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