As the government readies for the fight against the novel coronavirus, Indian Railways is considering offering its coaches and cabins to be used as isolation wards in rural and remote areas for patients who have tested positive.

All railway services have been suspended till April 14 in wake of the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

According to reports, the proposal to offer empty coaches and cabins to be used as ICUs for COVID-19 patients was discussed in a meeting between the Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal, Chairman of Railway Board VK Yadav General Managers of all zones and Divisional Railway Managers over video conferencing on Wednesday.

The meeting focused on how Railways’ production units can be used to manufacture equipments such as ventilators, beds, trolleys. During the meeting, a proposal also came to use the coaches which are equipped with toilets as isolation wards, reports said.

The idea was considered after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked his cabinet minister to find innovative ways to improve the medical facilities as the virus is spreading rapidly.

Railway Minister Goyal also told the officials to be prepared for State 3 of the transmission, which is community transmission.

Indian Express reported that the Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in Punjab’s Kapurthala has been tasked with the duty of converting LHB coaches into isolation wards while the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, the makers of Train 18 (India’s first electric semi-high speed train), is trying to make ventilators.

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