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Panama Canal Authority issues Ebola advisory

Written by Nick Blenkey
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SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 — The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has issued an Advisory to Shipping (No. A-22-2014) on Measures for the Prevention and Protection against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

In order to guarantee the safety of our customers and Canal workers, says the advisory, the ACP contacted the Panamanian Ministry of Health to coordinate actions regarding the Ebola virus.

It was agreed that the Ministry of Health (MINSA, Spanish acronym), specifically the Maritime Sanitation Unit, will be the authority responsible for investigating and authorizing the necessary clearance to board vessels with suspicious or reported EVD cases.

The following actions have been implemented by the ACP for the prevention of the Ebola virus disease:

  • Since August 17, 2014, the ACP has maintained close contact with MINSA’s Maritime Sanitation Unit’s officials.
  • The ACP is continuously monitoring the last 10 ports of call for all vessels arriving at Canal waters and will immediately alert MINSA’s Maritime Sanitation representatives of any vessels arriving in Canal waters whose previous 10 ports were from an Ebola affected country. The ACP will await clearance from the Maritime Sanitation representatives prior to boarding these vessels that are scheduled for inspection and transit.
  • In case of suspicion of an Ebola case on board a vessel, the MINSA expert physician’s opinion must be received by ACP prior to Canal personnel boarding.
  • If Ebola is diagnosed, the vessel will be placed in quarantine until MINSA authorities declare it safe for boarding.
  • All vessels arriving at Canal waters, whether for transit or not, must report any suspicious or confirmed diagnosed EVD case.
  • Any confirmed Ebola case will be handled accordingly with the International Health Regulations (IHR), implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) to control international outbreaks and to strengthen international public health security.
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