The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has quelled rumours that a crew member on board a cargo ship which docked at the port was suffering from COVID-19.
The port authority, in a statement, signed by Esther Gyebi-Donkor, General Manager, Marketing & Corporate Affairs, said although the crew member had symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat, periods of sweating and feeling hot, test results from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research proved negative for the virus.
The statement said, “The authority has a very formidable and robust medical team and protocols to deal with any eventualities that may come as a result of the menace posed by COVID-19 and, therefore, there should not be any cause for alarm.”
The Port of Tema, on Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 6:30 am, received an email signal of an indisposed crew member with fever-like symptoms from a Chief Officer of Maersk Cunene which arrived at anchorage on March 13 and was waiting a berth.
The statement said, “Immediately the information was received, our Head of Medical Services, who is the incident commander, initiated action by following the agreed procedures the authority has established with all its stakeholders including Port Health, Immigration and the Ghana Navy.”
The statement said the vessel was immediately ordered to be quarantined at anchorage while the port medical personnel guided by Marine Operations staff wore the requisite protective clothing and went on board the ship to take the temperature and blood samples of the sick crew member.
It said the sample was subsequently taken to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research for analysis which tested negative for COVID-19.
“Upon receiving this good news and clearance from Noguchi, GPHA berthed the vessel around 12:15 am on Monday, March 16 and the sick person whose condition is currently stable is being treated for the requisite non contagious ailment on board prior to the vessel's expected sail by Tuesday, 17th March 2020,” the statement said.
GPHA further encouraged its stakeholders to cooperate fully with the port authority in order to protect the health and economic interest of the country.