Ports in Odisha have enhanced caution to prevent the outbreak of Coronavirus. Though the lone major port at Paradip, the privately promoted ports at Adani Group-owned Dhamra and the one at Gopalpur operated by SP Group are cargo handling ports with no passengers calling in, the ports have left no room for laxity.
Authorities of Paradip Port Trust (PPT) have been constantly monitoring the situation on 2019 Novel Coronavirus that has spread worldwide panic.
Thermal scanners have been installed at Gate 4 and an isolation ward has been made functional at PPT hospital. As of today, 16 ships have berthed and 20 ships are in the anchorage. There is only one ship in which two crew members had visited China on January 15. In the next few days, it will berth. Crew reports are being taken on daily basis from the ship and no symptoms have been reported yet. On arrival at berth, Chief Medical Officer, PPT and a team will visit and scan the crew. After their green signal only, cargo operations will start in the ship. PPT pilots going to these ships have been equipped with personal safety gears.
“GoI (Government of India) has already suspended e-visa for China. Being a cargo handling port, no passengers alight here. But preventive measures are already in place to stop any possible outbreak. Cargo handling in the port is going on smoothly and there is no restriction for cargo movement”, said Rinkesh Roy, Chairman of PPT.
On arrival, masters of all the vessels are to provide health declarations on Coronavirus infection, having symptoms of cold, sneezing and fever. Shore leaving is not permissible to the crew of vessels having last Port of Call to China, Macau and Hong Kong, after January 15, 2020 in line with the Government of India advisory. Daily update on the health status of crew has been mandatory for all the vessels, until their stay in Paradip waters. Relevant meeting and updates are being given by the PPT authorities for all its stakeholders.
Gopalpur port off the coast of south Odisha, too, has embarked on a string of measures to combat Coronavirus.
“Alongside an isolation ward, we have in place two temperature guns, disposable globes & caps and sensitisation of the whole team. We have no inbound or outbound vessels to China or crew member in any of the vessels. Gopalpur port has a mock drill plan in association with the district administration. Besides, we are submitting a daily report to the district administration”, said Jagdish Chandra Rout, Associate Vice President (Corporate Affairs & Communications), Shapoorji Pallonji Port Maintenance, Gopalpur Port Ltd.
Dhamra Port is also gearing up to tackling the Coronavirus challenge.
“All precautionary measures have been taken at our ports as per advisory provided by the Ministry of Shipping. We are in the process of installing thermal scanners at all ports. These scanners will be up and running in 24 to 48 hours. Additionally, we are pro actively performing pre-checks prior to taking vessel cargo at our ports”, said a spokesperson, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ).