By Aaron Clark (Bloomberg) — Vessels and trains coming from China are in focus as nations take steps to halt the spread of a deadly coronavirus that originated in the world’s second-biggest economy. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest efforts by authorities around Asia, including quarantines and checks.
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Enhanced screening measures will apply to vessels that left China from Feb. 1, with the first ship to meet that criteria expected as soon as Feb. 10. The government is continuing to consult with port authorities and industry groups on the development and implementation of those measures, but said it would not be imposing a 14-day quarantine period, as had been suggested by private shipping and logistics agency Gulf Agency Co.
Queensland state’s maritime safety body has already intensified checks on incoming foreign vessels, which are required to report if any crew member or passenger has visited mainland China since Feb. 1 or Hubei province in the past 14 days. They must also disclose if anyone shows coronavirus symptoms.
Miner Fortescue Metals Group said vessels loading at its facilities in Port Hedland are scheduled to berth at least 14 days after departing mainland China, adding that iron ore is being delivered as planned.
Vessels that have visited China during their last 10 port stops will be thoroughly inspected by the Port Health Authority, according to Indonesia’s Directorate General of Sea Transportation. Anyone suspected of being infected with the virus must be treated by authorities. Animal inspections will also be carried out.
Indonesia plans to halt imports of food and beverages from China in what may be the first such move by a country to protect itself from the fast-spreading virus.
A spokesman for Japan’s transport ministry said the agency hasn’t imposed restrictions on ships arriving from China and isn’t currently considering extra precautions. A spokeswoman for the country’s health ministry said it isn’t in a position to restrict Chinese ships.
The Philippine Ports Authority said workers in ships coming from China are prohibited from disembarking to prevent the spread of the virus.
Vessels that have traveled to China in the past 14 days must submit a health declaration form and other documents 24 hours before berthing, according to a Feb. 1 notice from the Maritime and Port Authority.
Any vessel that visited China within the last 14 days will be inspected by officials from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agency before they enter ports to check the crew, according to an official at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. The vessels can only enter South Korean ports if the inspectors find no sign of infection and give them the all-clear.
Thailand has set up a checkpoint in the Samut Prakan province where 20 to 30 officials from the Port Authority of Thailand and the Disease Control Department will screen all crews on vessels coming from China before they can moor at the Bangkok port. If any ship is found to have sick crew, it will be quarantined. The measures are also being applied for the country’s northern ports.
–With assistance from Thomas Kutty Abraham, Aya Takada, Kyunghee Park, James Thornhill, Dan Murtaugh, Harry Suhartono, Suttinee Yuvejwattana, Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen and Rajesh Kumar Singh.© 2019 Bloomberg L.P