MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday said it has implemented stricter guidelines and preventive measures to protect its port personnel against novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
In a statement, PCG Commandant Admiral Joel Garcia said the guidelines are specifically intended to protect individuals who are performing port state control functions, including vessel boarding procedures.
Garcia urged PCG personnel to strictly follow the following measures to keep themselves from being infected and to deter any possibility of spreading the deadly coronavirus strain:
1) Avoid close contact between port state control officers and ship’s crew;
2) Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 masks, latex gloves, and boots, especially if close contact with any of the ship’s crew cannot be avoided;
3) Properly and immediately dispose PPE after usage to avoid possible contaminations;
4) Maintain clean hands and use hand sanitizers at all times;
5) Ensure the availability and placement of hand sanitizers in all stations;
6) Immediately report if any of the ship’s crew is found to have developed any sign or symptom of flu or pneumonia during the boarding procedure;
7) Advice ship’s crew to limit or avoid unnecessary movement outside the vessel and to wear PPE if required to disembark to Philippine shores; and
8) Ensure that ship’s crew follow the guidelines in handling vessel’s waste disposal.
Garcia said coast guard personnel shall observe the abovementioned guidelines before and after boarding a suspected vessel that came from any country with reported cases of NCoV infection, based on their port of origin or last port call for the last 14 days.
Garcia said the imposition of more stringent measures for its port state control officers is in compliance with the directive issued by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade against the deadly virus.
The move follows the Department of Health’s confirmation of the first novel coronavirus case in the country.
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