Carnival Corporation & plc has announced that select cruise ships from the company’s global cruise line brands, including Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia, will be made available to communities for use as temporary hospitals to help address the escalating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare systems around the world.
With the continued spread of COVID-19 expected to exert added pressure on land-based healthcare facilities, including a possible shortage of hospital beds, Carnival Corporation and its brands are calling on governments and health authorities to consider using cruise ships as temporary healthcare facilities to treat non-COVID-19 patients, freeing up additional space and expanding capacity in land-based hospitals to treat cases of COVID-19. As part of the offer, interested parties will be asked to cover only the essential costs of the ship’s operations while in port.
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. 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.
Additionally, cruise ships being used as temporary hospital facilities to treat non-COVID-19 patients would have the ability to provide up to seven intensive care units (ICUs) in the ship’s medical center 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 disparate locations by using different decks on the ship to separate each required medical area.
The temporary hospital cruise ships would be berthed at a pier near the community in need and operated by the ship’s crew, with all maritime operations, food and beverage, and cleaning services provided by crew members on the ship. Medical services would be provided by the government entity or hospital responsible for fighting the spread of COVID-19 within that community.