"This is being done as requested by the Mayor of Makassar to use the Pelni ship as a city-scale floating isolation facility considering the surge in COVID-19 cases in Makassar City," said Pelni (Persero) President Director Insan Purwarisya L. Tobing Insan in a written statement released on Wednesday.
KM Umsini, which is currently ceasing operations temporarily (port stay), will function as an isolation center for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients (OTG) and patients with mild symptoms, he informed.
As long as the ship is used as a floating isolation center, it will dock around Lae Lae Island, Insan said. KM Umsini will be able to accommodate 804 patients and 60 health workers deployed by the Makassar City government, he added.
This is in accordance with the policy of limiting ship capacity to 50 percent to allow it to meet the health protocols, he said. The ship's crew will also be replaced every two weeks, he added.
Pelni will provide several facilities such as beds, polyclinics, and jogging tracks on the ship, Insan informed. In addition, access to the upper deck will be opened so that patients can use it as an open area for sunbathing and exercising, he added.
"Through the facilities we provided, we hope that patients will feel comfortable during their self-isolation period on the ship so that they can accelerate their healing process and boost their immunity to battle the virus," the director remarked.
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KM Umsini has been docked at Makassar Port since July 14, 2021 and has now entered the preparation stage for receiving COVID-19 patients, he said. The economy deck for patient beds has also been installed with partitions set up between beds, he added.
KM Umsini is one of the 26 passenger ships operated by PT Pelni. With a capacity of two thousand passengers, the ship's regular route covers Kijang - Tanjuk Priok - Surabaya - Makassar - Maumere - Larantuka - Lewoleba - Kupang.
During the emergency public activity restrictions (PPKM Darurat) period, KM Umsini was among the ships that stayed in port due to the closure of several areas.
"Before the ship is used again for regular shipping, the company will ensure that a thorough cleaning and spraying of disinfectants is carried out until the ship is declared ready to operate again," Insan emphasized.
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