France has deployed one of its TGV duplex double-deck high-speed trains to move patients suffering from Corinavirus (COVID-19) from areas where hospitals are overcrowded to other regions of the country.
The first such train has moved 20 patients from Strasbourg, in eastern France, to hospitals in the Pays de la Loire in the West.
Minister of Health Olivier Véran first told the French National Assembly of the plan on Tuesday 24 March 2020. The first train left Strasbourg two days later, taking 20 passengers from Strasbourg to the west coast via Paris.
Stretchers were strapped across the seats and the train’s buffet-bar was converted into a medical centre. The operation was overseen by the Paris SAMU (Service d’Aide Médicale Urgente) and both a doctor and an anaesthetist were on board.
On arrival in the West, ten patients were disembarked at Angers, six of whom went to a local hospital while four were taken to a facility in Le Mans. The remaining ten travelled on to Nantes, with four of those being taken by road to La Roche-sur-Yon.