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COVID-19 WATCH

Foreign vessel passengers infected

The national government, through the maritime sector of the DOTr, assures that the situation and the condition of the crew members will be consistently monitored. Health and safety protocols will also be prioritized throughout the entire process.

Raffy Ayeng

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Attached agencies of the Department of Transportation (DoTR) are now closely monitoring an all-Filipino crew boarded container vessel, now presently in Port of Manila, carrying 12 Covid positives, in which two of them are in critical condition.

In a statement, the DoTR said its maritime sector, consisting of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), together with the agency members of the One-Stop Shop (OSS) Port of Manila, have assisted the crew of vessel MV Athens Bridge from India.

The vessel’s shipping agent said MV Athens Bridge departed from India on 22 April, 2021 and arrived in Haiphong, Vietnam on 1 May 2021 for the conduct of the crew’s RT-PCR test.
Subsequently, it was found that out of the 21 Filipino crew members onboard, 12 of them tested positive for Covid-19.

“On 6 May 2021, the PCG received a request from the vessel’s captain to execute a medical evacuation of the two crew members who both needed urgent medical care. The vessel, at that time, was located 12 nautical miles west of Corregidor Island,” the statement said.

Following the vessel’s acquisition of clearance from the BOQ and the Department of Health (DoH), MV Athens Bridge was directed to the quarantine anchorage area designated by the OSS Port of Manila.

Security is also provided by the PCG to ensure that no unauthorized vessel or motorboat will approach the vessel.

Upon examination by BOQ doctors, they immediately recommended the medical evacuation of two crew members who are in critical condition and sent to a dedicated medical facility for treatment.

The rest of the crew are contained in the vessel and shall be provided with needed medical supplies, including oxygen tanks, with assistance from BOQ and PCG.

“The national government, through the maritime sector of the DOTr, assures that the situation and the condition of the crew members will be consistently monitored. Health and safety protocols will also be prioritized throughout the entire process,” according to DoTR.

To recall, the Philippine Government has already barred all entry of travelers from India or with travel history to India in the last 14 days to prevent the transmission of a “double mutant” coronavirus strain.

The variant is known as B.1.617 and has two unusual mutations: E484Q and L425R. The World Health Organization classified B.1.617 as a variant of interest.

India is now in bad shape due to the staggering cases of Covid-19 there, piling more than hundred thousand cases per day, also taking the lives of thousand nationals.

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