Virus fears prompt shipping restrictions on vessels from China

shipping

Vessels coming from China are in focus as nations take steps to halt the spread of a deadly coronavirus that originated in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Here’s a roundup of some of the latest efforts by authorities around Asia, including quarantines and checks.

Singapore

Vessels that have travelled to China in the past 14 days must submit a health declaration form and other documents 24 hours before berthing, according to a Feb 1 notice from the Maritime and Port Authority.

Australia

Enhanced screening measures will apply to vessels that left China from Feb 1, with the first ship to meet that criteria expected as soon as Feb 10. The government is continuing to consult with port authorities and industry groups on the development and implementation of those measures, but said it would not be imposing a 14-day quarantine period, as had been suggested by private shipping and logistics agency Gulf Agency.

Queensland state’s maritime safety body has already intensified checks on incoming foreign vessels, which are required to report if any crew member or passenger has visited mainland China since Feb 1 or Hubei province in the past 14 days. They must also disclose if anyone shows coronavirus symptoms.

Indonesia

Vessels that have visited China during their last 10 port stops will be thoroughly inspected by the Port Health Authority, according to Indonesia’s Directorate General of Sea Transportation. Anyone suspected of being infected with the virus must be treated by authorities. Animal inspections will also be carried out.

Indonesia plans to halt imports of food and beverages from China in what may be the first such move by a country to protect itself from the fast-spreading virus.

Japan

A spokesman for Japan’s transport ministry said the agency has not imposed restrictions on ships arriving from China and isn’t currently considering extra precautions. A spokeswoman for the country’s health ministry said it isn’t in a position to restrict Chinese ships.

Philippines

The Philippine Ports Authority said workers in ships coming from China are prohibited from disembarking to prevent the spread of the virus.

South Korea

Any vessel that visited China within the last 14 days will be inspected by officials from the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention agency before they enter ports to check the crew, according to an official at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. The vessels can only enter South Korean ports if the inspectors find no sign of infection and give them the all-clear.

[bloomberg]

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