Indian Railways to turn train coaches into isolation wards

Jun 18, 2020 | COVID-19, News

Kritika Bhau

State-owned Indian Railways set up 500 carriages as isolation wards for about 8,000 COVID-19 patients on June 14 because of a lack of beds in hospitals. 

The Indian government and Indian Railways are now working to identify locations in the Delhi Capital Region for the placement of the COVID Care Coaches. 

“Political unity will create confidence among the public and lead to an improvement in the pandemic situation in the capital. We have to improve COVID-19 testing capacity with newer techniques,” said Amit Shah, the country’s Home Minister. 

Each isolation coach will hold 16 beds and the Delhi state’s Chief Medical Officer will supervise all the coaches.

The train carriers will have all necessary medical equipments including oxygen cylinders, blankets and sterilized berths.

Power plug sockets and mosquito nets are installed in every coach. The total estimated cost of the COVID Care Coach is 200,000 Indian Rupees, or C$3564 each. The carriers are planted near hospitals so patients can be transferred to the hospitals in case of emergency. 



The number of cases in the capital of India has increased after the lockdown was lifted. Delhi has around 44,476 confirmed cases currently while India’s total number of people suffering from the coronavirus is around 354,502, and it appears it is spreading.

“I support how the government is taking every possible step to fights against COVID-19 but my main concern is what is the efficiency of the ventilators and the medical equipment provided are safe for the patients or not,” said Arpita Sharma, a medical intern at Government Medical Hospital Jammu which is around 589 km south from Delhi. 

“Hospitals are in the red zone, which means the chances of getting infected are higher and just after the ease up lockdown people are out on streets, some even try to visit their relatives in hospitals. So we only need to practice social distancing to stop the spread of the virus,” Sharma said. 

Some other states such as Uttar Pradesh (south-east from Delhi) will be provided 70 coaches, Telangana 60 (south) and Andhra Pradesh 20 (south). 

India is now fourth among nations in reported cases and deaths caused due to COVID-19 with 354,502 cases as of June 16, behind the U.S. with 20,76,495 cases, Brazil with 7,87,489 and Russia, which reported 5,02,436 cases.