The National Ports Authority says it is in the process of tracing those who may have been in contact with 14 Filipino crew members onboard a ship in the Durban harbour, who have tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) says that the vessel, Eaubonne, arrived from India on Sunday.
They confirmed that upon arrival at the Port of Durban, as a standard precautionary measure, all 14 crew members on-board the vessel were tested for the coronavirus.
TNPA’s full statement:
It is not yet known which variant of the virus they contracted.
TNPA has also confirmed the death of the ship’s Chief Engineer, who passed away from a heart attack.
The vessel is currently in quarantine at the Port of Durban in line with COVID-19 regulations.
Port Health has also assigned a team to go onboard and check on the crew members.
Video: General manager at the Port of Durban, Moshe Motlohi says the crew members are in quarantine on the ship:
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says it is impossible to control the spread of coronavirus variants around the world.
Acting NICD Executive Director, Prof. Adrian Puren, says people should continue observing COVID-19 health protocols.
Puren says, “This (new) variant in India specifically is thought to resemble some of the aspects that are highly transmissible. We should try and monitor this particular case. But what would then be critical at this particular time is that that person is in isolation but it is really important that the contents of that particular individual are investigated in terms of levels of contact and exposure in order for us to test and isolate to try and limit transmissions. So you can’t always control the importation of variants.”
Video: Prof. Adrian Puren speaks to SABC News