As part of its response to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, State-owned freight utility Transnet has set up a command centre to closely monitor all vessels docking at South Africa’s eight commercial ports.
These ports are based in Richards Bay, Durban, East London, Ngqura, Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay, Cape Town and Saldanha.
Transnet said it would also keep an eye on the passengers on its Blue Train, as well as roll out hand sanitisers and protective wear for all port employees.
The utility explained that all procedures involving screening for the virus were being handled by port health officials in collaboration with the Department of Health and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.
Moreover, Transnet provided marine pilots with appropriate personal protective equipment to use when receiving vessels from affected areas.
Transnet requires all foreign vessels entering the ports to receive free pratique by the port health department and details of the last ten ports of call are captured.
Transnet urges citizens and marine pilots to refrain from consuming food and liquids on board vessels.
Should reports of infection on a vessel arise, it may dock and the port health department will institute a quarantine process.
Transnet also does not allow any crew member to disembark a vessel without obtaining port health clearance.
The utility said all port health employees had been sensitised to government’s national response plan on how to refer suspected cases to designated sites or hospitals.