Kerala’s houseboats attract lakhs of people from across the world, looking to explore its serene backwaters. The state is converting the tourist hotspot into isolation wards to strengthen its fight against Coronavirus. By Manya Saini

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has resulted in a nationwide lockdown. As people stay at home, the state governments are coming up with creative solutions to strengthen the healthcare facilities. Kerala’s houseboats, which have long been the mascot of the state’s tourism, are being converted into isolation wards for patients who test positive.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by RIVERLAND CRUISES (@riverlandcruises) on

The state is racing to prepare 200,000 hospital beds by the first week of May; following the announcement by many countries that they will deport the citizens of other countries. A similar statement by the UAE, home to lakhs of native Keralites has sent the state into a rapid-action mode.

Health experts have hailed the early response of the government and have said that boats, though unique as replacements for hospital rooms, will work well in case of emergencies, as they can be easily ferried to safe and secluded places. The state tourism department is assisting the district administration in converting the boats into isolation wards.

The district collector of Alappuzha, M Anjana, also praised the model and said it was one for preparedness and prevention. As per reports, she went on to say that the houseboat owners’ association was quick to accept the proposal and lend support for the project.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by RIVERLAND CRUISES (@riverlandcruises) on

According to the data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Kerala has 387 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, out of which 211 people have been successfully treated. There has been a decline in the number of cases with strict implementation of social distancing measures and contact tracing.

This is not the first time when the houseboat and fishermen have come to help in times of adversity. When the floods in 2018 had ravaged the state, the community had actively joined the rescue operations.

Related: Greenland Is The Only Country With No Active COVID-19 Cases