The South African port landlord, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), confirmed on Tuesday in a statement that two vessels in the Port of Cape Town were being held off port limits after a crew member onboard one of the vessels began to exhibit symptoms of Covid-19.
It was later established he had been on a flight with a fellow crew member and six passengers who went on to board a cruise vessel at the port, said spokesperson Ayanda Mantshongo.
This is the first suspected case of Covid-19 in a South African seaport. The two crew members had flown into the country from Istanbul, Turkey on 9 March. Only one of the two was showing signs of being ill, but both were placed into isolation onboard the general cargo vessel, MV Corona.
So some people on a Cruise Ship named AIDAmira off the coast of Cape Town were in the same flight as a sailor who has #COVID2019 symptoms & is now in a cargo ship named MV Corona anchored outside Cape Town. I know all this sounds like a movie but it's true #CoronaVirusSA— Floyd Nkuna (@AmuFloyd) March 17, 2020
“Meanwhile, the MV AidAmira ship has been operating between Port of Cape Town and Namibia (Walvis Bay) this cruise season. The vessel sailed on Friday from the Port of Walvis Bay in Namibia with 1,240 passengers and a total crew of 486 on board. The ship was on her voyage back to the Port of Cape Town, when TNPA was informed by Port Health Cape Town that six passengers had been on the same flight as the two MV Corona crew members.
“The Master of the MV AidAmira immediately quarantined the six passengers to prevent the spread of the infection to other passengers and crew onboard. The ship arrived outside the Port of Cape Town on 15 March. A Joint Operation Centre (JOC) was set up on 16 March inclusive of TNPA Harbour Master, SAMSA (MRCC), Port Health and a Specialist Doctor. After careful consideration of the facts by the JOC, the vessel was permitted to dock on 16 March.”
The six passengers were evacuated and taken to hospital for testing and thereafter would be taken to a quarantined area arranged by port health officials. The rest of the passengers would remain quarantined on board until the test results for the six are received, and thereafter a decision will be made based on the results.
So far only one of the two crew members on board the MV Corona had shown symptoms of being sick and no passengers or crew onboard the MV AIDAmira were exhibiting any symptoms, said Mantshongo.
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