The Philippine Navy is preparing to convert the country’s presidential yacht BRP Ang Pangulowas into a floating quarantine facility for coronavirus patients.
The move has been ordered by president Rodrigo Duterte and will see the yacht accommodate a total of 28 suspected coronavirus patients and five medical personnel. The crew will also remain on board.
A statement released on Saturday said the navy had “devised a feasible plan of converting the presidential yacht into a floating quarantine facility dedicated for coronavirus patients.”
The conversion will see three compartments for patients set up inside the yacht while different entry points will be dedicated for medical staff and patients. A three metre distance will be maintained between patients at all times, the statement added.
Gifted to the Philippines as part of Japan’s post-war reparations, BRP Ang Pangulowas was converted into a presidential yacht in the late 1950s.
Famous faces believed to have spent time on board include dancers Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, and actress Brooke Shields.
The 77 metre yacht is still in service, but Duterte has previously hinted at plans to have Ang Pangulo decommissioned.