Hambantota Port observes employees returned from China before epidemic broke

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Feb 17, 2020 (LBO) – With the coronavirus epidemic becoming a serious cause for concern, the Hambantota International Port (HIP) has put in place several measures to ensure the safety of their staff, environment, and the general public.

Emergency Response Procedure is in place with 3 response levels. A special committee has been appointed headed by the CEO with all Heads of Departments (HODs) as members.

Steps have been taken to isolate and observe all employees and their family members who returned from China just before the epidemic broke and no cases have been reported so far.

The port has also placed an embargo on staff members who are in China for the Chinese New Year, asking them to stay back until the green light is given for safe travel by the Sri Lankan and Chinese authorities.

The port said it has done a complete sanitisation of their entire facility, and are conducting regular temperature checks on their employees as well as visitors to the port.

“Routine cleaning of all facilities and transport vehicles are in place. Hygiene standards have been improved by placing sanitary hand wash and disinfectant liquids in office spaces,” the port said.

“All tours of the port have also been temporarily halted, except for those that are especially authorized. Precautions include making it compulsory for all visitors and staff to wear medical masks.”

HIP which was certified as ISO 45001: 2018 compliant for Occupational Health & Safety Management (OH&S) last year, has well-trained staff who are geared to handle emergency situations of this nature.

The port said it is implementing all measures to contain the epidemic in line with the standards and policies set out by the Ministry of Health and the WHO.

“The requirements of the Ministry of Health that all the travelers/crew of cruise ship who need to go ashore in Sri Lanka complete the Health Declaration Form individually and the Health Status Report of the Vessel (within 12 -24 hours of Berth or OPL operations) signed by the Master of the Vessel, are being strictly adhered to,”

An awareness campaign was conducted by the Hambantota Port Health Officer, Dr. Thamaranath on the 11th of February 2020 to educate HIP Staff members on the Novel Coronavirus.

Leaflets prepared by the “Health Promotion Bureau and Quarantine Unit of the Ministry of Health” were distributed to all the departments in the Hambantota Port. These leaflets were in local languages and in Chinese.