Contributing to the efforts in the fight against COVID-19, the Railway Ministry has deployed nearly 4,000 isolation coaches with almost 64,000 beds.

Northern Railway PRO Kultar Singh said on Wednesday that Indian Railways is fully prepared to provide any kind of support in the fight against COVID-19. "We have prepared nearly 4000 isolation coaches in which 64,000 beds are ready for utilisation by states.

In a bid to reach out as swiftly as possible, the Railway has drawn a de-centralised plan of action empowering zones and divisions to work out their memorandum of agreement for cohesive action. These isolation coaches can be easily moved and positioned at places of demand on the Indian Railways network," Singh told ANI.

He said according to demand 191 coaches have been handed over to various states for COVID care and these have 2990 beds. Isolation coaches are being utilised at Delhi, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The Indian Railways has also positioned 50 coaches at major cities of Uttar Pradesh like Faizabad, Bhadohi, Varanasi, Bareli and Nazibabad.

He said the Railways has catered to the full demand of Delhi government for 75 COVID care coaches with a capacity of 1200 beds. Singh said 50 coaches are positioned at Shakurbasti and 25 coaches at Anand Vihar stations and over 1,150 beds are still available.

"All isolation coaches are equipped with medical facilities. Those who have mild symptoms will be kept inside these coaches. As soon as it is known that the condition of any patient is not good, they will be sent to the nominated hospital. A total of two oxygen cylinders are available in every coach", Singh said. In view of surge of COVID-19 cases in the second wave, the central government is providing isolation coaches to states to augment the shortage of beds.

The Indian Railways has been modifying coaches into quarantine and isolation coaches to augment the quarantine facilities in the country. The Railways is also delivering liquid medical oxygen to various parts of the country. So far, more than 510 metric tonnes liquid medical oxygen (LMO) has been delivered to Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. Haryana and some other states have also requested railways for Oxygen express.