Rlys deploys 50% isolation coaches in Shramik trains

Railways deploys 50% COVID-19 isolation coaches in Shramik Special trains

Covid preparedness

With the COVID-19 treatment centres having a large number of unoccupied beds, the railways has put back 50% of the isolation coaches in the Shramik special trains.

Across the state, the bed occupancy as on Tuesday evening was a meagre 5.1% in hospitals reserved for COVID-19 patients. In Bengaluru, Victoria Hospital and Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital — the declared COVID treatment centres — was 33.68% and 4.16%, respectively.

"In Victoria Hospital, 374 beds are vacant and only 126 are occupied,” a senior health department official said. “We have identified 500 beds of the 900 available beds. Of the 50 beds in the ICU, only six are occupied and 44 are vacant.”

The official also confirmed that there were no patients on the 50 available ventilators.

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Meanwhile, at the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, a mere 10 beds are occupied of the 240 available. This includes the 24 ICU beds. The four ventilators at the hospital also remained unused. So, the railways saw no immediate utilisation for the 320 isolation coaches it had converted. Sixty-one of the isolation coaches are in
the Bengaluru division.

“Items like dustbins, buckets, mugs, screens and holders (in the coaches) will be put back in the railway inventory for use elsewhere. So, we won’t incur any loss on that,” said E Vijaya, chief public relations officer, South Western Railway.

“Since we used our own manpower (on these coaches), there are no losses on account of labour,” the official added. We spent Rs 30,000 on converting each coach, we may incur a loss of Rs 10,000. We have already deployed 160 of the 320 coaches (in which the middle birth was removed) in the Shramik special trains.”

Vijaya said the coaches could be used only if the state health department requests them and is prepared to provide healthcare personnel.

“We made them ready as per the protocol and can’t predict if the government will request for the isolation coaches in future,” she said.

Statewide, of the 28,686 COVID-19 hospital beds, 1,489 were in use as on Tuesday evening.

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