Following the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, the International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) issued advice for the shipping companies, adding that the symptoms are fever and acute respiratory symptoms.
The new Coronavirus was firstly detected in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China and rapidly the virus spread throughout the globe.
Given that the seafarers travel a lot throughout the world’s oceans, the Association provided specific advice to shipping crew and companies:
- Do not restrict embarkation /disembarkation of seafarers in non-affected ports
- Do not restrict necessary ship visits by port agents, chaplains, service personnel and others.
- Do not visit Food Markets in China. Avoid provision of fish and poultry in China.
- Do not consume raw eggs, milk, meat. • For galley: Observe strict food hygiene to avoid cross contamination
- Store facial protection for all crew (5 pieces /per person)
- Provide influenza vaccination, alcohol based hand rub and facial protection to ship inspector and other company employees who travel to China.
- If a person on board falls sick AND has been travelling to affected areas 2-12 days before embarkation, the person must stay in his cabin. Consult a Medical Doctor in the next port.
- If a sick person is on board of the ship, fill the Maritime declaration of health and notify port authority
Additionally, IMHA issued guidance of steps to be taken so people can avoid infection:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
- When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
- The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safey practices.