Alert over the Outbreak of a New Coronavirus in China
The outbreak of a new coronavirus stemming from the inland city, Wuhan, Hubei province , has taken nine lives and afflicted more than 440 others in China ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday during which hundreds of millions of people are excepted to travel. Although currently Wuhan remains the most seriously affected city, confirmed cases of infection have been reported at other places including some port cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, etc. Additional cases are identified in a growing number of countries internationally.
The coronavirus, which causes a type of pneumonia, was first reported in late December 2019. Typical symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty in breathing and fatigue. Authorities have confirmed that this new virus can spread between humans.
Because the virus can pass from person to person, relevant medical and quarantine authorities in China are highly alerted to control and supervise any suspected cases. In case a crewmember is showing the typical symptoms on board and would like to disembark to see a doctor, it is very likely that additional checks and precautionary measures will be conducted by quarantine officers.
In view of the current situation, we would suggest ship owners to alert their vessels which are calling or will call Chinese ports in the near future until the situation improves:
(1) in case any suspected case of coronavirus is found on board, the ship should report to the owners immediately and arrange to seek professional medical assistance from ashore for the affected crewmember as early as possible. At the same time, proper prevention and separation measures should be taken to avoid contact with other crewmembers to reduce the possibility of any virus being spread. Furthermore, owners are required to report such cases to local quarantine authorities under relevant laws.
(2) vessels visiting Chinese ports during this period are suggested to minimize interpersonal exchanges with people from ashore as much as possible. Ships are also reminded to alert the crew of the risks at ports where coronavirus cases have been reported and require them to take necessary precautionary measures such as wearing masks, etc.
(3) During the ship's stay at Chinese ports where confirmed cases have been reported, the crew are suggested to be more careful with personal hygiene, such as wearing masks, washing hands more frequently, avoiding contact with people who show symptoms of flu or high temperature etc. Disembarkation is suggested to be avoided unless it is absolutely necessary.
We hope the above is of assistance. Should you have any query, please feel free to contact us.