Posted on March 31, 2020, 12:41 PM IST
While 1.3 billion people have gone into a lockdown in the nation till April 14th, the passengers and crew stranded at sea face an uncertain risk. In order to control the spread of coronavirus, the government has so far prevented over 38,000 crew and passengers on board over 1,000 ships from disembarking on Indian shores and arranged safe transport of EXIM cargo, a shipping ministry official said on Wednesday.
Apart from restricting cargo handling and scanning passengers and crew, the government has prohibited entry of any international cruise ship, crew or passengers with a travel history to coronavirus-hit countries post February 1 to its major ports. Besides, it has also asked port chiefs to make timely payments to casual workers.
No shore passes were issued to such crew and passengers after January 26. Of over 1,000 ships, 719 had arrived at India's 12 major ports while the remaining arrived at minor ports under the control of the state governments.
According to the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), all passengers and crew aboard the vessels are being scanned, and all necessary facilities are being extended to them, the official said. All required protocols are being followed and help is being provided in the case of fever or sickness, the official added.
Directions had also been issued to ports to procure N-95 masks as well as thermal scanners to screen passengers, besides obtaining self-declaration from arriving crew and passengers.
To prevent the spread of the deadly virus, the Ministry of Shipping had said it will allow only such international cruise ships that had intimated their call to ports by January 1, 2020.
"Only those international cruise ships that had planned and intimated their call to an Indian port not later than January 1, 2020, will be allowed to call on such port," it said.