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Strict health protocols imposed at SA ports to curb spread of coronavirus

Cape Town harbour. File photo.
Cape Town harbour. File photo.
Image: Ruvan Boshoff

Transnet is implementing strict health measures and extra procedures for all vessels entering SA ports to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus.

Port health employees have been sensitised to government’s national response plan to diagnose infected people and refer them to designated sites or hospitals, Transnet SOC Ltd said in a statement on Friday.

Transnet is the custodian of the ports, rail and pipeline infrastructure in SA.

Additional measures to safeguard the country’s ports include:

  • All foreign vessels entering the ports must receive free pratique (permission to enter port on assurance from the captain that the ship is free of contagious disease) by the port health department. Details of the last 10 ports of call will be recorded.
  • A list of vessels calling from affected areas will be recorded.
  • During the warning period, SA citizens including marine pilots must not consume food or liquids on vessels from high-risk areas.
  • Should reports of infection be reported on board a vessel, it may dock but nobody will be permitted on board until port health has cleared the vessel.
  • No crew are to be taken off a vessel without obtaining port health clearance.
  • A thorough sweep for stowaways will be conducted and, if found, they must be examined and cleared by port health authorities.
  • All waste from the vessels coming from affected areas will be incinerated and not accepted ashore.
  • All yachts arriving in the country from all areas must be reported to SAPS and the port health department. The skipper is to be informed to ensure that he and his crew remain isolated on-board until cleared by port health.
  • Marine pilots will use medical masks and gloves when receiving vessels from affected areas.
  • Transnet National Ports Authority employees dealing with affected vessels have been provided with masks and gloves when going on board.

Transnet said it was working with the department of health and National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) to monitor the outbreak.