WATCH: Queen Mary 2 sails into Durban to allow South Africans to disembark

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Mar 31, 2020

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Durban - The majestic Queen Mary 2 sailed into the Durban Harbour just after 2:30pm on Tuesday afternoon. 

The ship was allowed to enter the harbour in order for six South African crew members to disembark. 

The crew members were tested for coronavirus by a ShipMed doctor, under the authority of the Department of Health, Port Health Unit and the Department of Transport on Sunday. 

National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson, Craig Lambinon said all precautions, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and protocols as outlined by the Department of Health, were followed during the operation.

The Queen Mary 2 sailing into the Durban Harbour

Video: Se-Anne Rall

Their tests were negative and they were granted permission to disembark.  It is understood that the six, all from different parts of the country, will be subjected to another round of tests and be placed in quarantine for 14 days. 

According to the Transnet National Ports Authority, the Queen Mary 2 had been anchored outside the port from Friday and requested clearance to berth in order to receive bunkers and stores. 

Speaking at a media briefing at the TNPA offices on Tuesday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, said he had come to the province to monitor the disembarkment. 

The Queen Mary 2 sailing into the Durban Harbour

Picture: Se-Anne Rall

"We came to the port to observe the issue, relating to the number of people who asked to disembark from the Queen Mary 2 cruiseliner which left Australia on March 16 with about 1226 people onboard. As the cruiseliner made its way towards South Africa, we asked that the passengers and crew not disembark as we had set up very strict regulations," he said. 

Mkhize said the vessel anchored offshore and asked for permission to dock at the Durban Harbour. 

He said questions were raised about the health of those on board. 

"It turned out that a number of people on the vessel exhibited symptoms and the ship was not allowed to dock just yet. A total of 26 passengers were tested and had to wait for their results and all tested negative. Initially, there was a suspicion that someone was positive but they were later declared negative," he said. 

Mkhize said only the six South Africans were allowed to disembark the ship. Food supplies were also replenished on the ship. 

The Department of Health has also conducted tests. 

He said of the six people; two were from KwaZulu-Natal, two from the Western Cape, one from the Eastern Cape and the sixth person was from Gauteng. 

"They will remain in quarantine before being allowed to go home. There is a doctor on board the vessel and all passengers and crew are well," he said. 

Mkhize said the Queen Mary 2 will leave for Australia soon. 

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has climbed to 1353.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the current mortality rate of the impact of Covid-19 in South Africa stands at 0.37%, accounting for five deaths.

To date, the total number of laboratory conducted tests for COVID-19 stand at 41 072.

The Mercury

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