Ships transiting through the Panama Canal are required to report contact with countries that have reported confirmed cases of coronavirus.
In a statement, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) expressed concern about the outbreak of the new Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which originated from the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province, which has spread worldwide in a few weeks and has generated an International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) Advisory.
The World Health Organization has earlier declared the 2019-nCoV as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
“It is imperative that vessels arriving at Panama Canal waters, for port calls or transit, after having called at ports located in any of these countries, or any other country with confirmed cases of the virus, and having identified any suspected case on board demonstrating any of the above-mentioned symptoms, report this condition through the Panama Maritime Single Window (VUMPA), within 30 days prior to their arrival," it said in the statement.
“This is necessary in order to take appropriate measures to prevent the possible spread of this virus in the Republic of Panama. Such measures include, but are not limited to, boarding the vessel by sanitary health authorities in order to investigate any cases; use of personal protective equipment, such as masks, by ACP personnel, or holding the vessel in quarantine as a precautionary measure.”
Aside from China, Macau and Hong Kong, other countries that have confirmed coronavirus cases are Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, the United States, Germany, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Nepal, Australia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India, Canada, France, Finland, Italy, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.