We are passing through a critical phase in human history. The spread of Corona virus has become a threat not only to the human lives but also to the economy world over. But the recovery of China from the grip of Corona spread, though slow, is a sigh of relief to us all. Cochin Port has been taking all required precautions to contain the spread of Corona by implementing several precautionary measures in handling of ships, including cruises and handling of cargo. Adequate safeguards have been put in place to ensure social distancing in the port areas, and to encourage our employees and stakeholders to maintain personal hygiene. Cochin Port, being a responsible public authority, has to ensure that the Corona virus is not spread to the state/country due to negligence in handling foreign ships/visitors from affected countries. We have to strictly adhere to the SOPs, and other instructions issued periodically by Govt. of India and Govt. of Kerala.
A detailed SOP has been prepared by the PHO for the precautions to be followed by the various persons boarding the ship such as Customs, Immigration, Terminal operators and cargo workers etc. As per the circular issued by Port Health Organisation (PHO), the vessels are to report the port calls, transits of the ship crew as well as temperature charts of the ship’s crew for the past 30 days to the PHO in advance. In addition, the Port control collects further information from the ships relating to the condition of any of the crew members just prior to the arrival in the port.
SOPs are in place for handling suspect or cleared vessels. Protective N95 masks or surgical masks and gloves are supplied for the protection to the concerned Port staff as per the directions from the health authorities and the Ministry.
Passengers arrived/landed Cochin in cruise vessels up to 04.03.2020 were strictly screened by the Port Health Organisation as per Govt. of India guidelines. Thereafter, no cruise vessels are calling at Cochin, as the conditions in SOP for cruise ships calling at Indian shores have been made stringent by Govt. of India, considering the possibility of passengers arriving from countries badly affected by Corona virus.
An Emergency Team comprising the following officers is in place to take stock of the preparedness in the Port to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
If employees come across any doubtful cases of corona infection in the Port area may report to the above Emergency Team so that adequate measures will be taken as per the SOPs in place.
SOP for House Quarantine has been prepared by CMO and an Isolation Ward has been kept ready in the Port Hospital.
A Coronavirus Alert Programme (workshop & training) was conducted by CoPT on 31.01.2020 in coordination with District Medical and team to enlighten the staff of CoPT Hospital, stakeholders and employees of CoPT. A demonstration of Personal Protective Equipment was also arranged. Another awareness session for employees of Cochin Port Trust was conducted on 05.02.2020.
Hand sanitizers and sufficient number of soaps have been provided in all offices for the employees to keep their hands clean while at work place and for the use of visitors coming to the Port offices. Employees having frequent public interaction have been provided with nose masks. Trainings and official programmes requiring large gathering are postponed for the time being.
I request all my colleagues to support all the precautionary measures taken by the government to control the spread of corona and be on high alert at public spaces as well as at work places by maintaining social distancing and personal hygiene.
Dr. M. Beena IAS