As curtains and blankets provided to passengers in air-conditioned coaches are not washed every trip, they are being immediately withdrawn from service till further orders, Indian Railways said.
Indian Railways on Saturday ordered the withdrawal of blankets from AC coaches and asked the passengers to bring their own blankets, in wake of coronavirus.
However, other items in the bedroll, including bed sheets, towels, and pillow covers, are given to passengers as usual as they are washed every day. Since blankets are not washed after every trip, the national transporter decided to stop distributing it to passengers until further order. The railways also decided to remove curtains from AC coaches, said an official from the railways.
“As per the extant instructions, curtains and blankets provided in AC coaches are not washed (after) every trip. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, blankets and curtains will be immediately withdrawn from service until further orders,” said a statement.
Railways also instructed its field staff to increase the temperature in AC coaches so that passengers should not feel uncomfortable due to the non-available of blankets.
Railways also instructed attendants in AC not to recirculate used linen. Instructions are also given to keep a vigil for any passenger with cold-cough symptoms and segregate the linen items used by such passengers.
The railways has also instructed its personnel to intensively clean coach fittings as they are touched by thousands of passengers every day.
These fittings include grab handles, door handles, door latches, entry door handles, seat guard, snack trays, window glass, a window grill, bottle holders, upper berth climbing stairs, electrical switches, charge points, etc. They will be cleaned with disinfectants, an official said.
“Doorway and gangway areas, frequented by passengers, are being cleaned with hot water. Intensive cleaning, including steam cleaning, will be ensured in pantry cars.”
“All curtains in AC coaches, and roller blind fabric in trains like Tejas, will be removed in four to five days,” he said.
The official said liquid soap, napkin rolls and disinfectant chemical will be provided to passengers by the housekeeping staff on board.