Seafarers Scared Of Monkeypox Pandemic


As the latest global outbreak of monkeypox continues to spread, bringing the current tally of cases to 16 000+ people in 74 countries, port states have been asked to spare seafarers a repeat of the inhumane treatment they received because of Covid-19, says an article published in Freight News.

A Super Spreader

Seafarers have not forgotten how they were literally sent adrift in many instances, with port authorities across the world preventing vessels from docking lest a super-spreader event ensue.

Tankers Being Marooned

In one such incident, a Danish-flagged tanker found itself marooned off Malta’s Port of Valetta, unable to enter the harbour for fear that a crew change could spread the coronavirus.

Maersk Etienne Incident

But the Maersk Etienne incident of September 2020 stands out, since Maltese authorities first requested that the vessel’s crew help rescue stricken refugees from the Mediterranean – before using it as grounds to ban the vessel for harbouring Tunisian citizens who could possibly be infected.

Cool And Calm Heads

As the pandemic worsened, so did conditions under which seafarers had to work – stuck at sea with little idea when the next crew change would be allowed.

Now that the monkeypox outbreak has been declared another “extraordinary event” by the World Health Authority, requiring a “coordinated global response”, the president of the liner trade’s InterManager crew association, Mark O’Neil, has appealed for cool and calm heads.

An Appeal

He asked that news of the next viral or bacterial outbreak not result in an inappropriate or disproportionate reaction.

He asked that each case of supposed contagion be judged on its own merits, emphasising that the symptoms and recommendations of monkeypox were very different from Covid-19.

He also stressed the necessity for the WHO to lay down the necessary requirements for responding prudently to events such as the monkeypox outbreak.

An Outbreak

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said: “We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little, and which meets the criteria in the international health regulations.”

More virulent strain

As opposed to the more virulent strain from the Congo, the current outbreak of monkeypox originated from West Africa and has only resulted in five fatalities.

Since May cases have been diagnosed in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the UK and US.

The Aftermaths

Monkeypox, for the most part, causes headaches and fever, resulting in boil-like blisters on the face, inside the mouth, and other parts of the body, before working its way out over a period of two to four weeks.

In severe cases it can cause complications leading to pneumonia and encephalitis.

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Source: Freight News



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