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Coronavirus: Cruise ships barred entry, land border crossings suspended

Cruise passengers, who have not travelled to affected nations, will also have to undergo thermal screening.afpPremium
Cruise passengers, who have not travelled to affected nations, will also have to undergo thermal screening.afp

  • Major ports are no longer issuing shore passes—temporary permits obtained for disembarkation—to crew members with a travel history to any country
  • International cruise ships are allowed only at ports that have thermal screening facilities for passengers and crew

India on Sunday barred international cruise ships with travel history to coronavirus-hit countries from entering domestic ports and suspended most land border crossing points, in an attempt to slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A shipping ministry official said major ports are no longer issuing shore passes—temporary permits obtained for disembarkation—to crew members with a travel history to any country hit by the pandemic.

“We are not letting crew members and passengers get out of the ship. In case a cargo has to be unloaded, Indian authorities take over," the official said on condition of anonymity.

On Wednesday, the government said any international cruise ship, crew or passenger with travel history to Covid-19-affected countries, beginning 1 February will be barred from entering all 12 major ports in India till 31 March.

International cruise ships are allowed only at ports that have thermal screening facilities for passengers and crew. All passengers and crew members will have to fill a self-reporting form prescribed by the health ministry and submit it to a port health officer, who arranges for their thermal screening. As a precaution, cruise ships having passengers, who have not travelled to affected nations, will also have to undergo thermal screening.

Guests with travel history to China, Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea, Italy and other affected countries in the last two weeks are not allowed to board the cruise, the official said.

On Saturday, the home ministry restricted international passenger traffic through land checkposts. All types of passenger movement through immigration land checkposts along India’s border with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar was suspended from midnight of 15 March. For the India-Pakistan border, this takes effect from 16 March midnight, till further orders. However, there are exceptions at some posts.

shreya.n@livemint.com

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