Cebu ports to check passengers' body temperature amid Covid-19 threat

(UPDATED) As part of the measures against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in seaports, the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) will enforce a body temperature check for every passenger who enters the terminal through a non-contact thermometer.

This after the Department of Health (DOH), as of 8 am, March 11, 2020, reported a total of 33 Covid-19 cases in the country.

In a statement from the CPA on March 11, it has alerted all ports in Cebu to implement stringent prevention measures.

CPA General Manager Leonilo Miole has instructed all port managers to enforce a body temperature check for every passenger who enters the terminal through a non-contact thermometer and to ensure provision of soaps in all port comfort rooms and alcohol-based hand sanitizers in payment counters, main entrances, office doors, passengers terminal walkways and pre-departure areas.

“CPA continues to closely coordinate with our partner agencies especially with DOH in putting into place various front line defense to prevent the possible entry of the virus in Cebu province via our ports. In fact, we already requested DOH regional office 7 to deploy medical officers and provide a standby ambulance in our ports,” said Miole.

Covid-19 information sheets and other information materials from DOH were also installed and posted in Cebu base port and sub-ports to help raise public awareness about the virus.

In addition, temporary isolation rooms and holding areas in ports have already been designated to provide fast assistance and response to identified febrile persons in ports and minimize risk of exposure to other port users.

Persons with temperatures above 37 degrees Celsius will be brought to CPA isolation rooms for further questioning by DOH. If suspected, they will be forwarded to CPA’s holding area where they will be picked up by DOH personnel thru an ambulance and transferred to their partner facility, said Mary Knoll Lague, CPA public relations officer.

The isolation rooms, each with a capacity of 10 persons, are located in Passenger Terminal 1 in Pier 1 in Cebu City and in Passenger Terminal 2 in Pier 3. A bigger holding area is located also in Pier 1.

Lague said they have not implemented measures for arriving passengers in seaports since they are also being checked from their point of origin as implemented by the Philippine Ports Authority.

“This week lang ta naka start kay nag-facilitate pa ta sa emergency purchase of non-contact thermal thermometers (We only started facilitating an emergency purchase of non-contact thermal thermometers),” she added.

Moreover, to effectively implement port protocol for the denial of entry, detection and prevention of the spread of Covid-19 in the province, no foreign ships have also been allowed to dock and crew and passengers are not allowed to disembark unless permitted by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) and the Bureau of Immigration through verified issuance of free pratique, shore pass or disembarkation permits and other pertinent permits.

All visitation privileges extended to seafarers of foreign ships are also suspended.

Moreover, all ships lying alongside a pier, wharf or bulkhead were required to deploy and attach rat guards to prevent the passage of rats between the ship and port.

On port terminal operations, CPA also imposed the strict implementation of guidelines and preventive measures to protect port employees against Covid-19 in adherence to the directive of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to step up safety measures in all ports.

All front line port personnel were directed to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as surgical or N95 mask, maintain clean hands and use hand sanitizers at all times, avoid close contact and proper disposal of PPE after usage to avoid possible contamination and protect themselves from being infected and deter any possible spread of said virus.

All port police were also directed to monitor compliance of port stakeholders with the port protocol. Indiscriminate spitting within the premises of the port shall not be allowed as pathogens of infectious diseases are found in saliva, phlegm and other respiratory droplets. (WBS with PR)