Will COVID-19 Screening Still Have a Role in the Maritime Industry Post Vaccine?
Due to COVID-19, everything we thought we knew about protecting people has changed. Gone are the days where we would share a bite to eat and brush off a cough, now everyone is considered a potential carrier.
Screening for COVID-19 in the maritime industry has been vital in the war against this lethal virus, but will screening for COVID-19 still be necessary post vaccine?
The Challenges of COVID-19 in the Maritime Industry
Labeled as a “humanitarian crisis at sea” by some reports, more than 200,000 seafarers were stranded at sea due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions and uncertain working periods. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development reported up to 20 cases onboard a week.
With nowhere to go, maritime workers not only struggled to maintain physical health, but mental health as well. In isolation, many succumbed to depression and anxiety from fear of being infected while away from their home and adequate medical care.
The Importance of COVID-19 Screening & Protocols Onboard
In response to COVID-19, screening solutions have become a beacon of hope to help vessel operators protect seafarers and restart in this “new normal” world. With most solutions producing results in just minutes, COVID-19 screening is considered a valuable asset to clearing healthy guests and crew and significantly reducing processing times at a cost-effective rate.
Currently viewed as a crucial component of any public health response plan, there are other components that need to be taken into consideration as well, including:
- Mask wearing and social distancing
- COVID-19 education and training for crew members
- Hiring a medical team that is prepared to handle an outbreak and stay up-to-date on other preventative measures
Ultimately, all maritime companies should ensure that regulatory policies and guidelines are well communicated and enforced to reduce the risk of further infection and additional disruption of global maritime transportation.
The Future of COVID-19 Screening in the Maritime Industry
Much like 9/11, the current pandemic has changed the way in which we view safety and security. This is especially true in the maritime industry. Though the industry anticipates the resumption of sailing with vaccination efforts underway, it’s not likely to be a replacement for the new public health measures put into place onboard.
Variants of the COVID-19 virus are developing and the longer it takes for vaccines to be distributed and implemented, the more likely it will linger into 2022 and beyond. Continued COVID-19 screenings are key to keeping the industry afloat.
Mainly as a proactive preventative measure, COVID-19 screening solutions will be relied on heavily to keep the integrity of public health onboard intact by detecting virus mutations in the foreseeable future. Once the pandemic has passed, these solutions can then be modified to protect the onboard population by detecting other maladies, such as the flu and strep throat.
What COVID-19 Screening Solutions Are Available to the Industry Today?
Screening for active COVID-19 is imperative for the control of the virus’ spread and the safety of all maritime employees.
With no “one-size fits all” solution for every maritime organization, VIKAND provides a variety of certified molecular and antigen screening solutions to fit your vessel’s or fleet’s needs. Learn more about our COVID-19 screening solutions here.