In a bid to aid the country in its fight against the infectious second wave of COVID-19, there’s good news. The Indian Railways has deployed 4,000 COVID-19 isolation coaches consisting of 64,000 beds. Currently, as many as 213 COVID-19 specific coaches comprising of 3,400 COVID-19 care beds have been deployed to various states according to their needs.

It should be noted that during the first wave of the pandemic, the coaches were deployed last year and are again being put to use to strengthen the health infrastructure and de-burden the stress that’s falling on hospitals. Due to the modularity of these coaches, the coaches can be sent to places as and when the demand calls for them.

According to various news publications, the Indian Railways has created a decentralized plan that enables state zones and divisions to create a Memorandum of Agreement so that they can work together in tandem. Currently, the coaches that are being used are in Delhi, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

The newest demand came from Nagaland state to which the Indian Railways sprung in action and sent 10 coaches at Dimapur. “The latest demand came from the State Government of Nagaland Isolation Coaches. Accordingly, the Railway worked swiftly to deploy 10 Isolation Coaches at Dimapur”, said the ministry in an official statement.

So far more than 50 coaches are already positioned in the cities of Uttar Pradesh like Faizabad, Naziabad, Varanasi, Bareli, etc. According to a release of the Indian Railways, at Maharashtra’s Nandurbar, 6 patients were admitted to the coaches while 3 were discharged. In this particular facility as many as 35 patients are isolated. As many as 343 beds are still available in this facility with 95 total admissions and 60 total discharges so far.

The Railways also deployed 11 COVID-19 care coaches at the Ajni Inland Container Depot at Nagpur and handed its management to Nagpur Municipal Corporation.

For the state of Madhya Pradesh, the Indian Railways deployed 22 coaches that has a capacity of 320 beds near Indore. In this facility 12 patients are admitted with 308 beds vacant. At the state capital Bhopal, 20 coaches have been deployed. In the Bhopal facility 21 patients were admitted with 4 patients discharged. More than 270 beds are vacant at the Bhopal facility.

Earlier, on special demand, the Indian Railways deployed 75 coaches to New Delhi that had capacity of 1200 beds. Off these 75 coaches 50 are at Shakur basti, 25 are at Anand Vihar Stations. So far, 1196 beds are still vacant as there have been only 4 admissions.

Overall, the data states that there have been 123 admissions made in these facilities and 62 discharges subsequently. There are still 3,200 beds that are still available.

Meanwhile, at Uttar Pradesh there are 10 coaches each that are positioned at Faizabad, Varanasi, Bareli, Naziabad and Bhadohi with a cumulative capacity of 800 beds.

In its statement, the Ministry of Railways stated,” As the country is battling the scourge of the current second wave of COVID-19, the Ministry of Railways is deploying a no-holds-barred approach by re-mobilising its initiative of Covid Care Isolation Coaches, already devised during the initial wave of COVID-19 with add-on conveniences.”

It should be noted that these isolation coaches are deployed for the needs of those who suffer from mild symptoms. The Indian Railways provides all the catering services all the while ensuring that the hygiene protocols are not compromised.

The Indian Railways has been put to a remarkable use since the beginning of the pandemic. Earlier in April this year, it was announced that the Indian Railways will run an “Oxygen Express”. These trains will transport medical grade liquid oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country and deliver it to the states in need. States like Delhi, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana have all benefited from oxygen being delivered to its door step.