The virus originated from a meat market in the city of Wuhan, in the Hubei Province in China. Currently almost 10 000 persons are affected in China and 213 persons are reported to have died from the virus. Both these figures are expected to rise. The city of Wuhan is landlocked, but the city is connected to the sea through the Yangtze river.
The symptoms are vague and can be difficult to detect. However, the main symptoms are fever, coughing and difficulty in breathing and may appear as quickly 2 days after exposure and as late as 14 days after exposure. The virus can be fatal, it is particularly dangerous for young children and elderly.
Impact of Coronavirus
There are so far no reports that Chinese ports have closed except from Wuhan port, which is an inland port connected by the Yangtze river. Any vessel and crew arriving from a Chinese port must expect to be screened when arriving at its next port of call in the coming days and weeks.
Singapore port authority has introduced temperature screening at seaports and will refer cases to hospital if there is a suspicion of a virus infection. The notice does not say if this is only relevant for ships arriving from China or all ships. It is reported that Indonesia as done the same and it can be expected that other ports, particularly in Asia will introduce similar measures.
Several airlines are no longer flying to mainland China, which may make it difficult to follow up on projects and perform crew changes.
The advice for vessels making port calls in affected areas:
- Take care to reduce the possibility of the spread of any virus by washing hands and use of masks
- Minimize interpersonal exchanges at port and disembarking the vessel only when necessary.
- Alerting the authorities if a coronavirus infection is suspected on board
- Crew change in affected areas should be carefully assessed
To find updated situation reports published daily: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/
Information notices and precautionary measure placards here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public