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Crew of ships from nCoV-hit Chinese areas not allowed to disembark in PH ports – PPA

Crew of ships from nCoV-hit Chinese areas not allowed to disembark in PH ports – PPA
Robie de Guzman • February 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Crew members of vessels that came from China will not be allowed to disembark while docked at any ports in the country amid the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said.

“Not only the passengers coming from Chinese territories are barred from disembarking but we have also disallowed the crews of vessels which recently called in any China port,” PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago said in a statement released on Monday, February 3.

The PPA also temporarily suspended all visitation privileges given to relatives of Filipino seafarers as well as boarding privileges of non-government organizations extending emotional and spiritual help to seafarers.

Santiago said the measure, which covers mariners, vessels and all port stakeholders, aims to protect the country’s borders from further contamination with the deadly 2019-nCoV.

To ensure proper and strict implementation, the PPA chief said a special team will be deployed to monitor the movements of personnel and people inside the port.

The PPA is also coordinating with the Office for Transportation Security and the Maritime Industry Authority and agents of ships calling in the Philippines to issue parallel directives within their jurisdiction.

Last week, the agency adopted stringent prevention measures in PPA-controlled ports, including general thermal scanning to individual scanning which checks if a passenger reaches a certain body temperature level.

Dedicated nCoV Malasakit help desks have also been established to facilitate the processing of reports for suspected cases.

Port frontline employees have also been provided with face masks and sanitizers to protect them from catching the virus.

“We recognize the dilemma of our seafarers and the difficulty that they face while at sea, but we also have to guarantee the safety of those offshore. Rest assured that everything will be reinstated when this nCoV ARD scare is over,” Santiago said.

As of Tuesday, the novel coronavirus has killed 425 individuals in China with 20,438 confirmed cases, according to China’s National Health Commission.