Following a call from US President Trump to Carnival Corp Chairman Micky Arison (pictured), the Group is to offer some its ships from its various brands to act as mobile hospitals in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, Carnival that the cruise ships would not be used to treat coronavirus patients or those who are under quarantine, but they would be made available for people being treated for normal hospital stays, for example, those recovering from surgeries, etc.
As a result, the ships would free up beds in land-based hospitals to be used for the expected influx of virus patients.
“He’s going to make ships available if we should need ships with lots of rooms,” Trump said at a news conference on Thursday. He said that they would be berthed in major coastal cities that have seen some of the largest outbreaks, such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In a statement, Carnival said that the ships would be taken from Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia.
Carnival said that it had called on governments and health authorities to consider using cruise ships as temporary healthcare facilities. As part of the offer, interested parties will be asked to cover only the essential costs of the ship’s operations while in port.
Governments or health authorities interested were asked to contact Monica Puello by email at MPuello@Carnival.com or by phone at (305) 406-8656.
If needed, cruise ships are capable of being quickly provisioned to serve as hospitals with up to 1,000 rooms that can treat patients suffering from less critical, non-COVID-19 conditions, Carnival explained. These temporary floating 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.
In addition, the cruise ships would have the ability to provide up to seven intensive care units (ICUs) in the ship’s medical centre equipped with central cardiac monitoring, ventilators and other key medical devices and capabilities. Similar to land-based health facilities, cruise ships can also house multiple medical functions in separate locations by using different decks on the ship to isolate each required medical area.
The hospital cruise ships would be berthed at a pier near the community in need and with the ship’s crew responsible for all maritime operations, food and beverage, and cleaning services. Medical services would be provided by the government entity or hospital responsible for fighting the spread of COVID-19 within that community.
In addition, the US Navy is preparing to send two hospital ships, the ‘Comfort’ and ‘Mercy’ to cities in need of help. The East Coast US-based ‘Comfort’ will sail to New York, while the ‘Mercy’s’ destination has not been disclosed. She is based at San Diego, Calif.