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India prohibits entry of cruise ships with travel history to coronavirus-hit nations till March 31

By PTI Updated: Mar 11, 2020 10:06 pm
Medical officials check tourists in wake of the deadly coronavirus, at Junagarh fort in Bikaner on Wednesday. (PTI)

New Delhi, March 11 (PTI): India on Wednesday prohibited entry of any international cruise ship, crew or passenger with a travel history to coronavirus-hit countries post February 1, 2020 to its major ports till March 31.

To prevent the spread of the deadly virus, the Ministry of Shipping said it will allow only such international cruise ships which had intimated their call to ports by January 1, 2020.

“Only those international cruise ships which had planned and intimated their call to an Indian Port not later than 1st January, 2020 will be allowed to call on such port.

“Any international cruise ship or any member of its crew or any passenger therein having a travel history of visiting any of the Covid-19 affected countries… since 1st Feb, 2020; will not be permitted to enter any Indian port till 31st March, 2020,” the Ministry of Shipping said.

The government said international cruise ships will be allowed only at ports having thermal screening facilities for passengers and crew members.

If any passenger/crew member shows symptoms of coronavirus, disembarking will not be permitted, it added.

Announcing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all international cruise ships which had intimated their call to major domestic ports in advance, the government said the shipping agent/master of vessel will have to submit all documents related to crew and passengers regarding their travel to/from Covid-19 affected countries.

“All passengers and crew members will have to fill the Self Reporting Form as prescribed by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and submitted to Port Health Officer. PHO will carry out thermal screening of all the passengers and crew members on board ship. Until clearance by PHO, passengers will not be allowed ashore,” the government said.

No sick passengers/crew will be allowed to board the ship by shipping agent/master of vessel, it added.

“If any passengers/crew show symptoms of the disease, disembarking of such passengers/crew will not be permitted. The passenger will be quarantined on the ship.

“Samples of the patient will be collected and sent to designated hospital/lab for testing. If sample is tested positive, the passenger will be taken to the isolation facility attached to the Port and the ship will be asked to move out,” the government said.

If the sample is negative, the passengers and crew will be allowed to disembark. A declaration to follow this procedure will be taken from all ships before they are allowed to enter the port, it added.

Further, it stressed that cruise ships need to take special measures to prevent coronavirus-affected patients to board the ships in the first place.

This includes automatically denying boarding to cruise guests who have travelled through China, Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea and Italy and other affected countries in the past 14 days.

It also stressed on mandatory screenings of persons with influenza-like illnesses at boarding port terminals and said all guests onboard have to fill out self-declaration health forms.

It also underlined the need for regular sanitisation of ships.

India has 12 major ports — Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia).

The government last month had directed all 12 major ports to immediately put in place screening, detection and quarantine system for disembarking seafarers and cruise passengers as a preventive measure against the coronavirus outbreak.

The Ministry of Shipping had issued necessary directions to the 12 major ports to “place a screening, detection and quarantine system immediately for disembarking Seafarers or Cruise Passengers”.

Directions had also been issued to ports to procure N-95 masks as well as thermal scanners to screen passengers, besides obtaining self-declaration from arriving crews/passengers.

India has reported 60 coronavirus cases so far.

By PTI Updated: Mar 11, 2020 10:06:27 pm