The International Maritime Health Association advices maritime employers on Coronavirus

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The International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) issued an advice to shipping companies on how the risk of infection from 2019 new Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) can be reduced.

Origin of virus
A new type of Coronavirus was detected since December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. All cases in Wuhan were connected to the “Huanan Seafood Market”. The source of infection is unclear. Human-to-human transmission is possible.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus, to track the spread and virulence of the virus, and to provide advice to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak. Check the latest advice of the WHO on the website of WHO.

Signs and symptoms

  • Fever
  • Acute respiratory symptoms (cough, breathing problems, pneumonia)
  • Average time from infection to disease: 7 days
  • Infection from humans- to-humans may occur during incubation period (before persons shows signs of sickness)

Specific advice to shipping companies and seafarers (as of 26-02-2020)

  • 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

Make sure to protect yourself from getting infected

  • 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 safety practices

Read more advice of the International Maritime Health Association
Check the latest advice of the WHO

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