COVID-19: Kerala’s extraordinary measure! Over 2000 houseboats to transform into isolation wards

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April 19, 2020 12:09 PM

The extraordinary measure has been planned as Kerala is expecting a huge influx of Indian nationals coming back from foreign countries who will need to be put in the quarantine facility.

Decision to convert the houseboats into Covid-19 isolation wards was announced by State Public Works Department minister G Sudhakaran. (Credit:IE file photo)

COVID-19: Kerala is rolling out an extraordinary initiative of transforming househoats into isolation ward! In a unique initiative, the Kerala government has decided to convert over 2000 houseboats into the quarantine facility in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic. Decision to convert the houseboats into Covid-19 isolation wards was announced by State Public Works Department minister G Sudhakaran, HT reported. The extraordinary measure has been planned as Kerala is expecting a huge influx of Indian nationals coming back from foreign countries who will need to be put in the quarantine facility.

The boat owners have responded positively to the decision of the state government and these wards will be ready to house potential cases of Covid-19 by April end, Sudhakaran was quoted as saying by HT. There are over 700 licensed houseboats in the capital city alone with many others in different parts of the state. Apart from the licensed boats in the tourism industry, many houseboats are owned by the people in the film industry and entrepreneurs, HT reported.

Kerala which receives the highest foreign remittances in the country is expecting the return of lakhs of Indian nationals after some West Asian nations threatened to impose severe restrictions on countries which are not taking back their citizens. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has already issued a warning in this regard. With more countries expected to follow suit, the state is putting out all stops to get 2 lakhs beds ready by the first week of May.

With the tourism industry in shambles, the houseboat owners have readily agreed to the government proposal. Most of the boats are idle and we don’t expect any business activity in the coming months so we are happy to hand over our boats for the cause, Kevin Rozario, general secretary of the All Kerala Houseboat Owners and Operators Association told HT.

The latest move of the state comes in tune with the governments in other states converting resorts and hotels into quarantine facilities. The hotel staff and management are also working hand in hand with the government in its fight against Coronavirus.

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