Mass contagion confirmed during a plane trip by the crew
Happy ending for the infected of Covid-19 in the Echizen Maru
Tuesday, August 04, 2020, 00:10 (GMT + 9)
The sixty-one crew members were released last Friday and part of the crew has already returned to their homes. On July 11 they entered the port of Ushuaia all infected, having been close contact of an infected on the flight that brought them from Buenos Aires. There was no self-criticism from the authorities.
After twenty days of isolation on the ship, in a hotel and in the hospital, depending on the state of health, the sixty-one crew of the Echizen Maru ship of the Newsan Group were discharged from the clinic and epidemiology. Some have already been able to return to their homes and this Monday another thirty-two workers will board a flight, while the remaining twenty-six will perform tasks on the ship while their return is organized. The health authorities of Tierra del Fuego highlighted the work carried out by the different intervening institutions but there was no self-criticism regarding the handling of the case of the craftsman who died from Covid-19 and shared a flight with thirty-four of the crew, which would have caused the contagion massive.
Echizen Maru guarded by staff of the Prefecture (Guard Coast) during the health crisis (Photo: Telam)
From July 11 when the ship arrived at the port of Ushuaia, the workers were treated depending on the symptoms and general health conditions. Some who had returned negatively were accommodated in a hotel; others due to risky conditions in the hospital and the vast majority, without symptoms or with mild symptoms, complied with the isolation on board the ship.
Twenty-eight Echizen Maru crew disembarked on Friday afternoon with a prefecture operation, who will join their colleagues at the hotel and wait until Monday to return home, as three crewmembers were able to do last week. To date, forty-two crew members have landed and the remaining nineteen will wait on board the ship to organize their return to their places of residence, since all have been discharged medically and epidemiologically.
Echizen Maru guarded by staff from the Prefecture to prevent access to the ship (Photo: Telam)
The discharge of the sixty-one crew was confirmed by the Ministry of Health of the Province of Tierra del Fuego through its official portal. The undersecretary of Occupational Health and Sanitary Inspection, Germán Thompson, was in charge of recounting the steps taken to improve the epidemiological situation and highlighted the coordinated work with the national authorities so that the ship becomes an isolation unit.
The statement highlights the joint work with the various government areas, such as Civil Protection; the Provincial Directorate of Ports, in addition to the Ushuaia Regional Hospital; Border Health; Prefectura Naval Argentina and the company. "As we were implementing new logistics or faced with any situation that arose, we always had the necessary support to carry out any action," said Thompson.
Part of the crew, affiliated with SOMU, posing for the photo (Source: Revista Puerto)
The official, proud of the positive result, stated that “it was the product of the logistics and work of the Emergency Operational Committee and the Ministry of Health coordinated with all the intervening areas; the work of all the professionals and the subsequent investigation work allowed us to determine the hypotheses of how the virus spread on the ship ”.
What Thompson failed to mention was the mistake they would have made in allowing the ship to set sail without making a third swab despite being asked to do so, according to the epidemiological link investigations. Following the protocol of the Nation, they did not perform a new swab because they were asymptomatic. The ship was allowed to set sail when thirty-four crew members were already known to have shared the same flight with an eighty-year-old man diagnosed positive for Covid-19, who unfortunately later died.
At that point, all the institutions named by the Assistant Secretary failed. Having authorized the company to carry out a new swab is very likely to have prevented this stressful and dangerous situation. Assuming mistakes allows us not to repeat them, and we hope that despite the lack of self-criticism, in practice we will see progress. Fortunately the story has a happy ending, last Friday all the crew were negative and the next destination is their homes.
Author: Karina Fernandez / Revista Puerto