Miami-based Carnival Corporation said Thursday it will make cruise ships from four of its brands available to serve as temporary hospitals where needed.
The announcement came after President Donald Trump said at a White House news conference he had spoken with Carnival Chairman Micky Arison about the possibility.
The world’s largest cruise line said its ships could serve mainly to treat non-coronavirus patients, freeing up beds in land-based hospitals. The company said ships can provide up to 1,000 hospital rooms and can be quickly provisioned with necessary medical equipment, including intensive care units.
"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," Carnival said in a statement. "The rooms also have bathroom facilities, private balconies with access to sun and fresh air, as well as isolation capabilities, as needed."
Carnival crew would provide food and beverage, and cleaning services, with local medical personnel handling treatment, the statement said.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Florida surpassed 400 on Thursday, about half of them concentrated in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Mobile hospitals are being set up in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Ocala in north Florida.