Corona rumours dispelled
The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) refuted allegations that the AIDAmira passenger vessel which berthed in Walvis Bay had positive coronavirus (Covid-19) cases on board.
17 March 2020 | Infrastructure
Namport acting chief executive Kavin Harry confirmed that each passenger on board the AIDAmira was tested before they disembarked from the vessel.
He also said that the decision to allow vessels to enter Namibian ports does not solely lie with Namport.
Operations manager of MSC Cruises Namibia, Monolito du Toit explained that that no passenger is allowed to board or leave any vessel unless a thermal screen has been done.
Du Toit emphasised that MSC vessels have state of the art hospitals, doctors and medical staff on board, as well as medication and the necessary equipment.
He said that the number of medical staff on board cruise liners has also been increased.
Two major shipping lines have already suspended operations. Some of the ten passenger liners that were scheduled to call at the port of Walvis Bay within the next two months will not do so anymore with more cancellations expected to follow. This will have huge implications for Namport as well as the tourism industry.
The mandate to screen and approve vessels before they come into the port, rests with the ministry of health and social services.
The executive director of the ministry Ben Nangombe reminded travellers that health screenings are mandatory, and that a health declaration is to be completed upon arrival at all Namibian points of entry.
This allows health authorities to contact travellers and their contacts, should the need arise.
In the event that there is a positive coronavirus case aboard the vessel, the ministry will decide if the vessel can enter the port, or if it should be kept on anchor outside the port. This decision will be done in accordance with the country’s contingency plan.
Only health officials are allowed to evacuate positive coronavirus cases, and to take such persons to the isolation facility, which is situated at the Walvis Bay state hospital.