Local officials talk about preventing coronavirus from spreading


MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Many are concerned with the spread of coronavirus and worried it may hit the Gulf Coast, especially because of the business done around the Port of Mobile.

The City of Mobile and the Alabama State Port Authority are both regularly meeting with the health department regularly, along with other entities about the virus.

The city says the key to their plan is preparedness, they are providing protective equipment kits to employees near the port, along with bar pilots, in case they come in contact with anyone showing concerning symptoms.

The city is utilizing three “P’s” to mitigate the threat of coronavirus: prevention, partnerships, and proactiveness.

“We knew this was coming, so we prepared for it. We have a three-part plan. The most important part of the plan is preparedness,” said Joseph Snowden, the waterfront coordinator, intermodal transportation manager at the Mobile Alabama Cruise Terminal for the city.

The city is in communication with the Mobile County Health Department, along with officials at the city, state and federal levels.

“We’re meeting regularly. We’re getting updates from the CDC, and the best thing you can do right now is if you’re sick, stay home. Wash your hands, just be prepared. Do your own personal preparations in case there is an outbreak,” Snowden said.

The city isn’t alone in taking precautions. The Alabama State Port Authority says they get four container ships per week from Asia.

“Ships coming from Asia, say if they’re coming from a Chinese port, they’re 40-45 days before they get to Mobile. The incubation period is two weeks,” said Jimmy Lyons, Director, and CEO of the Alabama State Port Authority.

The ships will have to first be cleared by the Coast Guard before they dock at the Port.

“If there were any problems, then the ship would be held out until it was determined it was not an issue,” said Lyons. He continued, “of all the ways that coronavirus could get to Alabama, I think the ship is the least likely.”

The Alabama State Port Authority says they have been monitoring the situation with the virus since January and will continue to pay close attention to the developments and updates that come as the virus continues to spread.

If you will be cruising with Carnival out of Mobile, you will be given a questionnaire to fill out before boarding. The questionnaire asks if the passengers have traveled to any of the countries within the last 14 days that have experienced an outbreak of coronavirus. If the passenger has, they will not be allowed to get on the ship. The countries currently listed on the health declaration sheet: Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, and Iran. The city also says if the passenger shows any signs of illness, they will also not be allowed on board.

World Health Organization offers protective measures against coronavirus. You can find that information here.


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