The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday ordered that train coaches will be used as care centres for suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The ministry is said to have passed the order in anticipation of an increase in coronavirus cases in the country.
The Centre listed 215 stations where the special trains will be stationed. This facility will be used for very mild and mild cases of the infection.
“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 order read.
States will have to assign at least one hospital for each train so that patients may be shifted to the facility in case of emergencies, the Centre said. The railways will be responsible for providing all the necessary items in every coach, including oxygen cylinders.
The health ministry’s order said that catering arrangements will be made by the Indian Railway Catering And Tourism Corporation/commercial department. The Railway Protection Force will be responsible for taking suitable security measures to protect patients and staff.
The train coaches functioning as coronavirus care centres will be handed over to district magistrates and the staff will work under the chief medical and health officers of the district. The ministry also noted a detailed guideline for the use of the trains.
Patients will be provided individual cabins and a maximum of two people may be put in one cabin, if the situation arises, the ministry said. Before handing over the train for normal use, the staff shall make sure all biomedical waste bins are cleared out and the trains are disinfected.
“As a special case, Ministry of Environment & Forest and climate change has provided one-time exemption from registration of train coaches for the purpose of generating hospital waste,” the order read. “However, the guidelines issued by Central Pollution Control Board/State Pollution Control Board related to treatment of COVID-19 patients shall be strictly followed.”
India’s coronavirus tally rose to 49,391 on Wednesday morning and the country recorded 1,694 fatalities, according to the figures from the health ministry.