In fact, the outbreak has made news headlines after the first incident was reported in Wuhan, China, in December and the virus spread rapidly in the globe.

Common signs of the Coronavirus include

  • respiratory symptoms,
  • fever,
  • cough,
  • shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

With some ship operators advising vessels not to dock or restock supplies in certain areas of Asia, MCTC has issued helpful guidelines to galley crew on how to prevent spreading viruses on board through cross-contamination in the kitchen. It should be highlighted that maintaining galley hygiene onboard plays a major role against seaborne diseases.

In protection of the seafarers, and in line with the port and vessel restrictions that have been already implemented, MCTC advises seafarers to:

  1. Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub to destroy viruses
  2. Remain one meter away from other people, especially if coughing or sneezing
  3. Avoid contamination by touching hands, eyes and mouth with fingers to avoid transferring the virus to yourself
  4. If you cough then cough into your elbow to prevent spreading germs further afield, or ideally into a tissue and then dispose of it
  5. If you have a cough, temperature or difficulty breathing tell your Captain or onboard medical support immediately
  6. Do not prepare or handle food for others if you are feeling unwell
  7. Ensure all food preparation areas are kept spotlessly clean and maintain high standards of hygiene in the galley
  8. Follow a robust food storage and handling regime, particularly with regard to raw meat and dairy products

Thus, Christian Ioannou, Managing Director of MCTC, commented that

As good practice, the company has sent notices to all crew reminding them of the importance of cleanliness and good hygiene practices as a protection against spreading the virus.