- Reports have revealed that there are 14 crew members aboard a large cargo ship docked in Durban who tested positive for Covid-19
- The concerns stem from the fact the vessel docked in Durban after a 17-day long direct sail from India, where they are experiencing a dangerous strain of the coronavirus so far not seen in South Africa
- The Transnet National Ports Authority said in a statement that the ship is in quarantine in the Port of Durban while all safety measures are being taken
14 crew members of a cargo ship docked in Durban have tested positive for Covid-19. The bulk carrier sailed to Durban from India, where a severe strain of the virus is causing havoc.
The Filipino crewed vessel sailed for 17 days directly from India to the coastal city in KZN. The chief engineer of the ship reportedly died on board from a heart attack, according to a media statement by the Transnet National Ports Authority.
The ship is currently under lockdown and a team has been assigned by port health officials to go onboard the vessel to check on the crew.
According to TimesLIVE, authorities had been informed that they needed to stop all operations and interactions with the vessel on Tuesday. The ship had been transporting rice and it is believed that around 3 000 tonnes of rice had already been manually offloaded and transported to a warehouse.
News24 reported that another vessel from Kenya is being quarantined in Gqberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) for the same reason.
A report has stated that contact tracing and tracking is underway while the ship in Durban remains under lockdown.
Previously, Briefly News reported that the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has assured Mzansi that there are no cases of India's Covid-19 variant in the country. This is what is trying to be avoided by quarantining the crew of the ship that just arrived from there.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize also denied that there are any cases of the variant in Mzansi. According to TimesLIVE, Mkhize said the government is on "high alert" for the Covid-19 variant circulating in India.
In a statement released by Mkhize's department on Monday, the minister said that there were no cases of the B.1.617 variant in SA after the Netcare group of hospitals confirmed that a patient who had “recently” travelled to India had tested positive for the coronavirus and was being treated in a KwaZulu-Natal hospital. The variant the patient had tested positive for was not yet established.
The NICD said the B.1.617 variant has not been detected in Mzansi and shared that any suspected cases will be investigated.
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