According to OECD, India, the nation of 1.3 billion, has 0.5 hospital beds available for every 1,000 people.
Even more, in the eastern state of Bihar, for example, there are 0.11 beds per 1,000 people. With the number of Covid-19 positive cases rising, experts say the lack of robust public healthcare remains India's biggest challenge. After the rail network had been suspended, the first time in 167 years, Indian Railways has decided to convert as many as 20,000 old train carriages into isolation wards for patients with coronavirus.
"Now, the railways will offer clean, sanitized and hygienic surroundings for the patients to comfortably recover," Piyush Goyal, the Railways Minister said in a tweet. Railway bosses have instructed each of India's 16 railway zones to identify non-air conditioned carriages that are no longer in operation on passenger routes to turn into hospitals, and have them ready for use in case of an emergency. Each sanitized carriage will be able to accommodate up to 16 patients and the necessary medical personel. The trains, once ready, will be sent to any location that might be facing a hospital bed crunch.