CPA: No blanket 30-day quarantine for all vessels from Asia

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(CPA) — The Commonwealth Ports Authority has become aware of a rumor in the community that all vessels from Asia will be quarantined for 30 days. CPA is providing the following information to clarify the situation at its seaports in regard to Covid-19.

Federal regulations require the master of a ship destined for a United States port to immediately report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention any death or certain illnesses among the ship’s passengers or crew. Once reported, the CDC Quarantine Station contacts the vessel to ensure that the appropriate public health actions are taken.

Maritime partners have been advised to follow the standard required reporting of symptoms for any sick traveler on international conveyances destined for the United States. Maritime partners have also been informed of the symptoms of Covid-19, which include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

In regard to cruise ships, CDC works directly with the ship’s lead physician and the cruise line’s medical director to obtain suspected individuals’ medical and travel history. If a concern for Covid-19 arises after review of the travel history and the individuals’ symptoms, CDC, in conjunction with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., will provide recommendations on a case-by-case basis for the sick travelers and other onboard.

In regard to non-cruise ships, if an individual has symptoms that are consistent with CDC’s standard required reporting requirements, then the ship has been advised to collect, before notifying the CDC Quarantine Station, the following five pieces of data: a list of the sick traveler’s signs and symptoms, including onset dates; the sick traveler’s highest recorded temperature; the sick traveler’s embarkation date and port; the ship’s ports of call during the 14 days before the person became ill; and a list of ports of call where the sick traveler disembarked during the 14 days before the person became ill. Like cruise ships, if a concern for Covid-19 arises after review of that individual’s travel history and symptoms, CDC, in conjunction with CHCC, will provide recommendations on a case-by-case basis for the sick travelers and other onboard.

Last, if an individual suspected of being infected with Covid-19 arrives at the seaport, CDC will direct the captain of the ship or the ship’s physician to have that individual wear a facemask, if able to, to prevent respiratory droplet transmission. CDC will also direct the paramedics and emergency medical services staff to wear appropriate personal protective equipment during transport of the individual. The United States Customs and Border Protection will assist with the expedited disembarkation of the individual to facilitate rapid transfer to a medical facility.

The above information is the interim guidance provided to seaport partners for the management of sick travelers suspected of being infected with Covid-19 for ships arriving at United States ports of entry. CPA advises the public that the community rumor stating that all vessels from Asia will be quarantined for 30 days is unfounded.

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