On 23 March, the health authorities of the Liguria region in northern Italy received the MV Splendid, a large ferry belonging to the MSC Group and moored in the port of Genoa, free of charge. Within 24 hours, the entire seventh deck of the ship was completely sealed, the ventilation system modified and the spaces converted in order to accommodate Covid-19 patients from the city’s hospitals, which risked being overwhelmed by the wave of new cases of contagion.
A team of doctors and paramedics was created from scratch, recruiting staff from the city’s hospitals. On-board operations were organised in coordination with the health authority, the Civil Defence and the Army. Within a few hours, the ship, transformed into a genuine floating hospital, was ready to welcome the first patients in the cabins. Today it is home to almost 50 of them, destined to increase rapidly in the coming days.
The ship has the potential to receive up to 300 patients, and its realization is a scalable model that can be applied everywhere, a unique example of flexibility and creativity in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.