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MARINA eyes passenger manifest’s revision amid nCoV scare

MARINA eyes passenger manifest’s revision amid nCoV scare
John Rey Saavedra February 7, 2020

CEBU CITY – The Maritime Industry Authority in Central Visayas (MARINA-7) will modify the format of the passenger manifest to include specific data on a person’s contact number and address details that can be used for contact-tracing in case of a virus outbreak.

MARINA -7 regional director Marc Anthony Pascua said the manifest filled up by passengers of inter-island vessels does not bear the complete details, which can be used by health authorities in tracing people, who may have been infected with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Pascua, who attended the consultative conference of seaport stakeholders organized by the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), said the agency’s lawyers are now drafting new guidelines on the modified passenger manifest.

“We are just modifying the passenger manifest that we have. So that at least, contact-tracing would be easy for us,” Pascua told the media on the sidelines of the conference.

The consultative conference was attended by around 150 representatives from shipping companies and port handlers.

The existing manifest, he said, would be improved to add one more column for details that can be used to contact individuals who happened to sit near a person suspected of being infected with the flu-like illness.

When asked if a passenger can refuse to fill up the modified manifest, Pascua said the measure is a public health concern of everyone.

“This is an extra-ordinary measure for extra-ordinary time,” he said, adding that the new template could be adopted in other regions as the maritime industry’s contribution to combat the viral disease that originated from Wuhan, China.

Dr. Terence Anthony Bermejo, director of the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) in Region 7, who briefed officials from the shipping company on the characteristics of the 2019-nCoV, said the executive order signed by Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia is applicable to the port areas in handling cases of the viral infection.

He also said port stakeholders were informed of Department of Health (DOH) circular 2020-0034 that was issued to establish measures for pier operators, shipping agencies, ship handlers and manning agencies.

In the circular, he said cruise vessel coming from China, Hong Kong and Macao are not allowed to dock at any Philippine port.

The circular also said the master of the vessel is mandated to report flu-like symptoms among the crew and passengers, while the quarantine monitoring officer is conducting triage using latest case definition or decision tool.

Cargo vessels from China, Hong Kong and Macao that entered the Philippine waters within the past 14 days would be allowed at the quarantine anchorage hoisting the yellow flag while BOQ officials would board for issuance of free pratique clearance, Bermejo said.

A vessel cleared in one domestic pier and transferred to another would be boarded by a quarantine officer.

Meanwhile, CPA general manager Leonilo Miole said the port authority has issued a health advisory to shipping and port industry players “to ensure the supply chain of basic commodities needed for the Cebuanos would not be broken.

“What I am after for is the possible economic impact of the 2019-nCoV in the port operations. We need to ensure that operation at the international port continues while we adopt measures to combat the virus in our domestic ports,” Miole said.

He advised port stakeholders in a memorandum to observe precautionary measures such as body-resistance building, practicing personal hygiene, wearing of personal protective equipment and seeking prompt medical consultation if they feel sick. (PNA)