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Hundreds of railway coaches to be used for COVID-19 patients in 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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