Carnival cruise ships to serve as temporary hospital in case of coronavirus emergency

WASHINGTON -- Carnival Corp. says it will make cruise ships from four of its brands available to serve as temporary hospitals in locations that need them to combat the new coronavirus.

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 says its ships could serve mainly to treat non-coronavirus patients, freeing up beds in land-based hospitals for those patients. The company says ships can provide up to 1,000 hospital rooms and are able to be quickly provisioned with the necessary medical equipment, including intensive care units.

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Carnival crew would provide such things as food and beverage, and cleaning services, with local medical personnel to handle the treatment of patients, the statement said.

Trump said at a White House briefing that he would present the offer to New York and California during a teleconference later Thursday will all 50 governors.

Two Navy hospital ships also will become part of the effort.

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