The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) confirmed that two vessels in the Port of Cape Town “are being held off port limits” due to suspected COVID-19 cases.
A crew member on board the MV Corona cargo ship was on a flight with a fellow crew member and six passengers who boarded the AIDAmira cruise ship.
The MV Corona crew member began to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. Due to the proximity of crew members and passengers, both cases are currently being investigated.
COVID-19 investigation at Cape Town sea-port
MV Corona cargo ship
According to TNPA , two crew members had flown into the country from Istanbul, Turkey, on 9 March 2020. Only one of the two is showing signs of being ill.
The two crew members had flown into the country from Istanbul, Turkey, on March 9. Only one of the two is showing signs of being ill. However, both have been placed into isolation on the MV Corona.
“MV Corona left the port of Cape Town on Wednesday 11 March. On Friday 13 March, [it was confirmed that] one crew member was exhibiting symptoms and requesting that the vessel returns to the port of Cape Town for evacuation.”Transnet statement
Both crew members have been placed in isolation on board the MV Corona general cargo ship which is currently stationed at the Cape Town port.
This is the first suspected case of COVID-19 in a South African sea-port, but it ties in with another vessel, the AIDAmira passenger liner.
AIDAmira passenger liner
It has been established that the two MV Corona crew members had been on a flight with six passengers who later boarded the AIDAmira cruise vessel at the port.
According to the master and the doctor on board the passenger liner, the six have shown no symptoms of the virus but are in isolation and being monitored continuously, due to their proximity with the MV Corona crew member.
According to reports, the AIDAmira set sail from Walvis Bay on Friday 13 March and arrived at Cape Town on Sunday 15 March with 1 720 passengers and crew on board.
Aida Cruises’ head of communications Hansjörg Kunze confirmed that the six guests “are being checked,” and added:
“The guests have already been on board for one week without showing any symptoms. We have arranged flights accordingly to bring our guests home quickly. For this, however, we are lacking clearance of the local authorities”.