New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) The Indian government has announced strict guidelines for international cruise ships to call on a port in the country to curb the Covid-19 outbreak.
The advisory follows the case of several cruise ships like Diamond Princess which became infestations of the virus and are stuck at the ports.
A standard operating procedure (SOP) has been put in place with immediate effect for international cruise ships.
Cruise ships, which had intimated their call to an Indian port prior to January 1, will be allowed. Any ship, crew or passenger which has a history of visiting a Covid-19 affected country since February 1 will not be permitted to enter any Indian port till March 31.
The cruise ships will be allowed on ports having thermal screening facility for passengers and crew. If any passengers or crew show symptoms of the disease, they will not be allowed to disembark. The passenger will be quarantined on the ship. If the samples are found to be positive, the passenger will be shifted to an isolation facility attached to the port and the ship be asked to move out.
The shipping agent of the vessel will have to produce travel history of the crew and passengers. No sick passengers will be allowed to board the ship. All aboard the ship will have to fill in a self-reporting form and give it to the Port Health Officer.
The government, in its advisory, has said that cruise ships need to take special measures to ensure that coronavirus-affected patients do not board the ship in the first place.
Any cruise guests who have travelled to China, Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea and Italy in the past 14 days are automatically denied boarding by the cruise.
Any person having contact with anyone within last 14 days prior to travel who has travel history to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Iran or Italy or any other affected countries is also automatically denied boarding.
Mandatory screening is to be performed on persons exhibiting influenza type symptoms in board ports terminals.
At the check in counter of the boarding ports, the guest passport is scanned for stamps for any Covid 19-affected countries.
All cruise ships have been asked to carry out examination of the passengers daily for any symptoms of the disease.