International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Secretary General, Guy Platten, will lead a delegation of industry leaders to meet with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva. COVID-19 is having a significant impact on the shipping sector and the industry is working closely with the WHO to ensure that guidelines for industry and governments help limit the spread of the virus, while maintaining international trade.
ICS is currently working on updated guidance for industry. Ahead of the meeting Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping said:
We have a special obligation to ensure the safety and health of seafarers and passengers. We have proposed a collaboration with WHO to evaluate and refine best practices regarding managing health threats in a shipboard environment. The cruise industry in particular has highly advanced practices and procedures and we are looking for practical ways to adapt those to broader maritime applications. We hope this effort will help provide some additional clarity and consistency for shoreside authorities when addressing ships during a health emergency. The maritime industry, especially ICS and its Members, are fully committed to these efforts
ICS stared that it is taking every precaution necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For this reason, ICS has been advising all members to closely follow its WHO-backed guidelines on how to limit the risk of infection. With the number of infections continuing to rise globally, ICS and the WHO are continually updating health guidelines.
The impact of the virus on shipping has been significant. It is estimated to be costing the industry $350m a week in lost revenues. More than 350,000 boxes have been removed from global trade. Global supply chains continue to suffer, and issues remain around the quarantining of ships at ports.
Mr. Platten added:
I am grateful to the WHO for their support and the collaboration that they are providing to the international shipping sector. Dialogue and partnership are vital in our efforts to overcome this challenge in the most effective way possible
The new coronavirus has cost the lives of 2.801 people, while confirmed cases exceed 82.168. What is more, except from China, coronavirus cases have been reported in other countries in Asia, such as Malaysia and Japan, in Australia, Germany, France, Italy, the UK, the US and Canada, among others.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.