The world’s largest cruise company has offered its laid-up ships to governments and hospitals as they try to combat coronavirus and handle the influx of patients in need of medical care.
Miami-base Carnival Corp. said Thursday ships are available from Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia and that they could be converted into temporary hospitals for non-COVID-patients.
The idea is the ships could be used to relieve pressure on land-based hospitals and free up capacity, i.e. provide extra beds, to care for COVID-19 patients. On board medical clinics can provide up to seven intensive care units, according to Carnival.
“If needed, cruise ships are capable of being quickly provisioned to serve as hospitals with up to 1,000 hospital rooms that can treat patients suffering from less critical, non-COVID-19 conditions,” Carnival said in a statement. “These temporary cruise ship hospital rooms can be quickly converted to install and connect remote patient monitoring devices over the ship’s high-speed network – providing cardiac, respiratory, oxygen saturation and video monitoring capabilities. The rooms also have bathroom facilities, private balconies with access to sun and fresh air, as well as isolation capabilities, as needed.”
All maritime operations, food and beverage, and cleaning services would provided by crew members on the ship, however, medical services will need to be provided by the government entity or hospital responsible.
As part of the offer, Carnival said interested parties will be asked to cover only the essential costs of the ship’s operations while in port.
U.S. President Donald Trump alluded to Carnival’s offering in his Coronavirus Task Force press conference earlier today.
“I spoke with Micky Arison of Carnival Cruise Lines and he is going to make ships available. So in addition to the big medical ships that we have going, if we should need ships, lots of rooms, they’ll be docked at New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco different places. So I want to thank Mickey Arison. That was kind of a surprise,” Trump said.
The “big medical ships” President Trump was referring to are of course the USNS Comfort, which is in the process of being deployed to New York harbor, and the USNS Mercy, which is located on the U.S. West Coast.
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