Italy unveils train with ICU beds to help country’s hospitals

Rome, Mar 8 (efe-epa).- Italy has unveiled its latest innovation in the campaign against Covid-19 — a medically-equipped train with an onboard intensive care unit designed to ease the pressure on the country’s hospitals when required.

The vehicle was inaugurated Monday at Rome’s main Termini train station.

“It can travel across all of Europe, there is no other example of this kind of train in Europe,” Gianfranco Battisti, a representative of the state rail service FdS, said at the event.

The train will act as a roaming hospital to transport patients from pressure points around the country and is the fruit of a collaboration between Italy’s Civil Protection agency, the Red Cross and the emergency services in Lombardy, in the country’s north — one of the regions worst-hit by the pandemic.

Although conceived as a way to alleviate the strain on hospitals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, there are future plans to use it for other medical emergencies such as natural disasters, said Fabrizio Curcio, head of the Civil Protection agency.

The train, which has an independent power supply to ensure it can run around the clock, is made up of eight wagons, three of which house its 21 ICU beds.

Each wagon is staffed by a doctor and four nurses.

Doctor Carnelli said the train would be able to run for “several days” at a time, allowing it to embark on “quite long” journeys.

Italy’s public rail company supported the national effort to curtail the spread of coronavirus from the early days of the pandemic when it offered free transport to medical workers and volunteers between hospitals in need of back-up, as well as five million tons of food.

Rome’s Termini station is also home to a vaccination center as Italy continues to roll out the jab against Covid-19.

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