torsdag 9. april 2020

How India’s behemoth railways are joining the fight against Covid-19

India is preparing for a potential surge in Covid-19 patients by tapping into an unusual resource: it’s trains, which power the world’s fourth biggest rail network. The country suspended its passenger trains for the first time after it announced a three-week lockdown on 25 March to contain the coronavirus. As of Wednesday, it had reported 4,643 active cases and 149 deaths, and the numbers are rapidly increasing. “We, at the railways, thought: how can we contribute?” its spokesman, Rajesh Bajpai, told the BBC. “So we came up with this idea and everyone liked it.”

Work has already begun to convert 5,000 train coaches into quarantine or isolation wards, which amounts to 40,000 beds. And the railway ministry says it’s prepared to convert 15,000 more coaches.