First “floating hospital” in Italy deploys high-speed broadband to battle coronavirus

By Yana Persky

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, the race to find innovative medical care facilities across Europe and North America is heating up. This worldwide initiative is part of an effort to ease the pressure on hospitals as they deal with the rising number of patients diagnosed with the COVID-19 illness.

The U.S. is converting more than 10,000 empty hotel and college dorm rooms into hospital rooms to treat coronavirus cases in New York City. London is transforming its ExCeL Centre into a 4,000-bed “field hospital.” Four-star Madrid hotels are being repurposed to treat coronavirus patients. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem hotels are housing coronavirus patients with mild symptoms.

In addition to emerging land-based healthcare facilities, there are many cruise ships that are on standby to be used as floating hospitals. Carnival Corporation, for example, is calling on governments to consider using cruise ships as temporary healthcare facilities to treat non-COVID-19 patients, thereby freeing up additional space in land-based hospitals for coronavirus patients. According to the company, a typical ship can provide up to 1,000 hospital rooms and up to seven intensive care units, and could be equipped with remote patient-monitoring technology.

In the meantime, Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), a leading Italian shipping company, set a model for others in Italy by converting its first ferry passenger vessel Splendid into a “floating hospital” in less than seven days. The floating hospital can provide treatment to hundreds of patients and has already hosted its first 25 mild coronavirus patients.

To ensure that Splendid has reliable broadband connectivity, MavianMax, an innovative Italian ISP dedicated to improving the quality of service for business and residential customers, deployed Ceragon’s IP-20C all outdoor multicore solution. Establishing a stable and reliable high-capacity microwave link in a matter of days with minimum footprint became a game changer for MavianMax.

It was important to accommodate the floating hospital’s requirements to guarantee 24/7 monitoring of patients, including their respiratory function and oxygen levels. Sufficient bandwidth was required to conduct video phone calls with medical call centers, and to transmit information to a central control room. This would allow the beneficial support of experts who could provide guidance and recommendations to the medical teams onboard. The floating hospital is also planning to introduce an intensive care unit.

To ease the immense and growing pressure on hospitals that are quickly becoming overcrowded, and to free up beds for more seriously ill patients, health authorities worldwide are converting more and more leisure facilities into “field hospitals.” To power such initiatives and address the coronavirus emergency, Ceragon’s flexible wireless hauling solutions allow service providers to quickly deploy reliable mission critical broadband for every emergency situation. Ceragon solutions are instantly increasing network capacity to ensure reliable broadband service for mission-critical use.

By leveraging Ceragon’s technology, MavianMax is continuously expanding its coverage and creating new services for its enterprise and residential markets. Its guaranteed high-speed, customized offering and fast broadband deployment are attracting the attention of many national and international carriers, broadcasters, energy companies and system integrators.

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