The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Essel Group’s Amit Goenka-promoted Jalesh Cruises Mauritius Ltd are in talks to temporarily use cruise ship MS Karnika as a floating quarantine facility.

The number of people infected with coronavirus in Maharashtra rose by nearly 30 per cent on Saturday to touch 635 with 145 new positive cases being reported. Of these, 377 cases or about 60 per cent, were reported in Mumbai. The city has also recorded the highest number of 22 deaths out of 32 in the State.

MS Karnika is a 2,000-seater cruise ship that ran between Mumbai and Dubai from last year with Mumbai Port Trust as the home port till it was forced to halt operations due to the outbreak of coronavirus in March.

“When it came from Dubai last, the ship was not allowed to come inside the port due to quarantine issues,” said a Mumbai Port Trust official. The cruise ship is waiting in Mumbai harbour.

“We have established a tie-up between BMC and a cruise vessel having accommodation for 2,000 persons on board to serve as floating quarantine facility,” the Mumbai Port Trust said in a note.

Essel Group and Amit Goenka, son of Subhash Chandra, could not be reached immediately for comment. The Port Trust, meanwhile, has taken steps to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

The port, one of the 12 owned by the Central government, has separated its hospital into two – a Covid-19 hospital and a non-Covid-19 hospital.

Screening, equipment

Screening is done at the new gate and each hospital has its own entrance, reception, casualty, ICU, wards, etc. PPE suits are compulsory in Covid-19 hospital and special standard operating procedures (SOP) have been put in place for separation of patients.

It has developed a Covid-19 (suspect) isolation ward with its own ICU and a Covid-19 (positive) isolation ward also with its own ICU.

Mask and gloves are compulsory even in non-Covid-19 hospital and all necessary equipment such as PPE, mask, gloves and medicines have been purchased in large quantities, including seven new ventilators, a Port Trust official said.

Telemedicine, accomodation

Telemedicine facilities will be provided for all patients through hospital departments and medicines will be dispensed to patients through a tie up with Wellness Pharmacy outlets spread across Maharashtra.

The Port Trust has started quarantine wards at three locations — Dhanvantari Building in Mumbai Port Trust Hospital, Nadkarni Park Welfare Centre, Wadala, and CMC Building inside Indira Docks for keeping the suspected persons.

Further, it has tied up with Sailors’ Home, Wadi Bunder, (500 beds) for use as quarantine facility.

Besides, vacant flats in the residential quarters in the vicinity of Port Trust Hospital are being readied for accommodating isolation cases/staff on emergency duty, the Port Trust said.

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