According to South Africa’s Transnet National Port Authority, Fourteen crew members of a cargo ship that sailed to Durban from India have tested positive for COVID-19. A spokesperson from Transnet said the cause of a chief engineer’s death aboard the ship was heart attack and not COVID-19.
The 14 were among the entire crew that was tested after the ship arrived in Durban on Sunday. They are now all in isolation as authorities start a track and trace initiative for all those who might have been in contact with them.
“The vessel is currently on quarantine. No one is allowed to leave or enter the vessel, and the company responsible for anyone who worked on board is to track and trace all employees who interacted with the subject vessel,” Transnet said on Tuesday.
The ship with Filipino crew had sailed directly from India, where they had been tested for COVID-19 and cleared as per requirements.
Upon arrival at the Port of Durban, as a standard precautionary measure, all crew members were tested and 14 of the crew tested positive for COVID-19. The entire vessel is currently in quarantine at the Port of Durban, as per COVID-19 regulations. All operations with the vessel have been suspended.
News of the incident caused widespread concern on social media about fears that the new B.1.617 variant that was causing thousands of deaths in India daily had reached South African shores.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has assured the public that plans are in place to test all arrivals into the country, reminding them that there were no direct flights from India.