It is reported that the Australian Government has placed additional border measures, health screening and isolation recommendations for people and ships travelling to Australia from mainland China.
Moreover, the Department of Agriculture is in close contact with the shipping sector to ensure compliance with the pre-arrival reporting requirements of ill travellers, along with the Department of Health which also provides communication materials for passengers and crew at Australian international airports and seaports.
The Australian Government’s Department of Health issued a information marine sheet providing specifications on how the Australian shipping sector deals with the virus.
Specific vessels have additional coronavirus requirements:
- Vessels that have left, or transited through, mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 and less than 14 days ago.
- Vessels with crew or passengers who have left, or transited through, mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 and less than 14 days ago.
- Vessels that have had ill crew or passengers on board in the past 14 days.
- Vessels that have crew or passengers who have been in contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus in the past 14 days
The vessels that have to follow the requirements above should be aware that the crew and their passengers onboard may be subject to additional health screening and self-isolation requirements when disembarking in Australia.
In addition, the marine industry can reduce the risk to passengers, crew and marine industry staff.
This can be achieved by following the measures below:
- Commercial vessels should promote good cough and sneeze hygiene among crew and passengers.
- Commercial vessels should undertake appropriate cleaning and disinfection activities.
- People should wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- People should avoid touching their mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed or gloved hands.
- If personal protective equipment (PPE) is recommended, it should be worn properly.
- Where possible, people should stay one metre or more away from passengers or crew with symptoms of coronavirus unless wearing appropriate PPE as per employer work instructions.
- Marine industry staff temporarily boarding a vessel that is subject to additional coronavirus requirements should stay one metre or more away from crew unless wearing appropriate PPE (surgical mask and gloves).
- Awareness should be increased by providing the Department of Health’s fact sheets on coronavirus to passengers and crew.
It is further stated that Australian marine industry staff will experience additional health screening and isolation requirements, part of the country’s precautionary measures. Thus, all staff should wear appropriate PPE when interacting with people while on board a vessel with additional coronavirus requirements.
If staff have been in contact with people with symptoms of coronavirus while on board the vessel, staff should make themselves known to the biosecurity officer when possible.
It is not necessary for marine industry staff to wear PPE if they are not boarding a vessel subject to additional coronavirus requirements, or not interacting with crew or passengers. Regular hand washing or use of alcoholbased hand sanitiser is always recommended.
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