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In the News

Coast Guard Coronavirus Bulletin given

By Cyndi Sellers

As the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV spreads around the world from its origin in Wuhan, China, the U. S. Coast Guard has issued instructions for ocean-going ships seeking to dock in the United States. A Feb. 2 Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB 2-20) was issued that clarifies the regulations on passengers and crew who have visited or embarked from China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau.

Given the assumption that the time from exposure to showing symptoms is within 14 days, regulations state that passenger vessels that have been to China or embarked passengers who who have been in China within the previous 14 days will be denied entry to the United States. If all passengers exceed 14 days since being in China and are symptom free, the vessel will be permitted to enter and conduct normal operations.

Non-passenger commercial vessels that have been to China or embarked crew members who have been in China within the previous 14 days, with no sick crew members, will be permitted to enter the U.S. and conduct normal operations, with restrictions. crew members will be required to remain aboard the vessel except to conduct certain specific activities directly related to vessel cargo or provisioning operations.

The Coast Guard must be notified if any crew member has been in China (again excluding Hong Kong and Macau), and if any crew member were ill prior to boarding. The Coast Guard will communicate any concerns stemming from sick or diseased crew or passengers to their chain of command and the Center for Disease Control quarantine station, who will coordinate with local health authorities.

On Jan. 31, U. S. Health and Human Services declared the 2019-nCoV situation to be a Public Health Emergency in the U.S. and issued a quarantine order for specific airline passengers returning to the U.S. from the Hubei Province of China. On the same day, the President of the United States issued a proclamation on the suspension of entry as immigrants and non-immigrants of persons who pose a risk of transmitting 2019 novel coronavirus. This proclamation includes temporary suspension of foreign nationals (with some exceptions such as vessel crew members) who were physically present in the People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) during the 14 day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the U.S., beginning Feb. 2.

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