Delhi to use 500 railway coaches as hospital facilities to fight coronavirus

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NEW DELHI: India‘s federal government said on Sunday it will provide New Delhi’s city authorities with 500 railway coaches that will be equipped to care for coronavirus patients, after a surge in the number of cases led to a shortage of hospital beds.

The coaches will increase Delhi’s capacity by 8,000 beds, home minister Amit Shah said on Twitter after a meeting with the capital’s chief minister.

The government will also ramp up testing in the city, especially in containment zones, conduct a door-to-door health survey of residents and provide sufficient supplies of oxygen cylinders and ventilators, he said.

India is the fourth-worst affected country in the world, with cases steadily increasing. It reported a record single-day jump in cases on Sunday, adding nearly 12,000 confirmed infections and taking the total to more than 320,000, according to health ministry data.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown in late March that has since been loosened.

With more than 22,000 active cases, Delhi is the third-worst affected after the states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The chief minister of Delhi, which has a population of 20 million, has said that the number of infections in the city are expected to cross more than half a million by the end of July.

Shah said a committee was examining providing 60% of private hospital beds in Delhi at low cost for coronavirus patients, and fixing the cost of testing and treatment. He added that a report would be submitted on Monday.

That comes after a public outcry over the high cost of beds and coronavirus treatment at private hospitals.

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