Rlys’ Covid care centres in Delhi receive first cases; Army medical corps in charge of their health

New Delhi, Jun 24 (PTI) Coronavirus isolation coaches deployed in New Delhi received their first occupants on Wednesday, when two patients were admitted in the Railways' COVID-19 care centre at the Shakur Basti station, officials said.

About 15 more are expected by the end of day, they said, as the ambulance carrying the first coronavirus patient arrived at the station in the morning.

The second patient arrived soon after.

The first admissions happened in these coaches – modified to work as COVID-19 Care Centres – on the day the total number of coronavirus cases in the city crossed the 70,000-mark.

No relatives were allowed to follow the patients inside and the entire area resembled a containment zone, the station secured like a fort by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel.

While the main gate of the station has been shut, all other gates are being manned by RPF personnel. The open areas adjoining the isolation coaches have been covered with green nets to block onlookers out.

The first patient, who will stay here for the mandatory 14-day or leave early if his test reports are negative, will be provided with food and linen by the Railways.

The Army Medical Corps will be in charge of their healthcare, Northwest District Magistrate Sandeep Mishra said.

He said only confirmed positive cases who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms will be kept in these coaches.

The Delhi government has requisitioned 503 coaches to use them as COVID Care Centres for suspected or confirmed patients with mild or very mild symptoms, officials said.

Around 50 such modified coaches are currently stationed at the Shakur Basti railway station’s maintenance depot, the officials said, adding that each coach has 16 beds.

The Northern Railways said that the Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital, Pitampura, New Delhi, is the primary facility under which the coaches at this station will work.

The hospital will provide requisite medicines, medical equipment and material along with coach attendants. Coach sanitation and waste segregation and disposal will also be the responsibility of the hospital.

DM Mishra told PTI that 10 coaches have been made operational on a trial basis, with five each on two platforms. 'If the trial is successful, the facility will be replicated at other places.' The facility started as per a tripartite collaboration among the Railways, the Army, and the Delhi government.

The Directorate General of Health Service will provide the protocols for the treatment and ambulances for the facility.

'First patient arrived at Shakur Basti COVID Care Center of Railways in New Delhi. We are committed to provide all necessary help in this fight against COVID-19,' Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted.

A similar facility was started at the Mau railway station in Uttar Pradesh on June 20 where around 59 patients had been admitted. Many of them have already been discharged.

The Northern Railways will be responsible for the basic infrastructure and maintenance of the premises like cleaning and sanitization of platforms, providing housekeeping materials like linen and blankets, management of bio-toilets, power and electric supply arrangements, watering, communication facilities and signage and marking of different areas.

It will also provide catering and oxygen cylinders in the coaches. This will include meals three times a day and tea in the morning and evening.

The RPF will provide security at the station premises and the platform area where the coaches have been placed, while the Delhi Police will be in-charge of the security arrangements outside and areas adjoining the station.

¨The coaches have been handed over to the local administration by the Railways to be used as Covid care centre. The identification, transportation, admission and discharge of the patients will be the responsibility of the Health Department of the state government,” Northern Railways officials said.

A reception centre has been set up at the station for administration of the coaches and the patients. An emergency control room has also been set up at the site by the Railways. This will be manned 24x7 by the railway officials for coordinating and providing railway-related assistance.

The coaches at Shakur Basti have been placed under a shed to block direct sunlight and fans have been provided in each coupe for optimum air circulation and better temperature control. PTI ASG BUN NIT IJT TIR TIR