Amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in India and demand for beds needed for treatment rising, the Ministry of Railways on April 27 said that it has converted nearly 4000 rail carriages into makeshift COVID-19 care coaches with almost 64,000 beds ready for use by states.
Out of the aforementioned 4,000 carriages, at present 169 coaches have been handed over to various states, the ministry said in a press release
Several states and cities are witnessing distressing shortages of hospital beds and medicine, forcing authorities to set up temporary hospitals in hotels, auditoriums, schools, and railway yards.
The 169 coaches that have been handed over are positioned at nine major stations in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
In Delhi, the railway has deployed 75 COVID care coaches with a capacity of 1,200 beds of which 50 coaches are positioned at Shakurbasti and 25 coaches at Anand Vihar station.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
In Madhya Pradesh, the railway has deployed 20 coaches with a capacity of 320 beds at Tihi station near Indore.
At Nandrubar in Maharashtra, 57 patients are currently utilising the facility and 322 beds are still available.
In Uttar Pradesh, 10 coaches each are placed at Faizabad, Bhadohi, Varanasi, Bareli and Nazibabad totalling a capacity of 800 beds.