One unlinked case caused a 6-day operation pause
Ningbo-Zhoushan in eastern China is the world’s third-busiest cargo port. On 11 August 2021, it suspended operations till further notice. However, no further word was given about the seafarers who called on it.
Originated from external sources
According to authorities in East China’s Zhejiang Province, investigations revealed the asymptomatic Ningbo port worker had no connection with the latest wave of domestic epidemic cases. In fact, the patient came into contact with a cargo ship which earlier docked in Russia. 11 of the team of 18 onboard were tested positive – suggesting the latest infection in Ningbo originated from this cargo ship. The patient, named Xu neither travelled abroad nor visited any domestic medium- and high-risk areas two weeks prior to the positive test result on 11 August 2021. The authority added the latest wave of Delta variant in domestic cities such as Nanjing originated from different sources.
To date, over 120,000 residents in Ningbo have undergone testing and all results were negative. However, internet cafes, entertainment venues, performance halls, cinemas, gyms, bars, foot massage and bath centres as well as religious places in the district have been ordered to temporarily shut down. Ningbo-Zhoushan’s incident was sufficient to strengthen suspicions that the seas at large are a huge reservoir of COVID-19 cases. On the flip side, it stresses the importance of seafarers’ relentless commitment to keep trade going, albeit deafening silent.
Another backlog to contend with
Industry observers have also received conflicted information about Ningbo-Zhoushan’s reopening; a toss-up between resuming operations and opening without physical operations. That could only add more pressure on the severely strained supply chains. It is another bottleneck and a new load of backlog to clear.
Jason Chiang from Ocean Shipping Consultants told a media that the global shipping industry is likely to feel the impact of the pandemic for several more months. “We do not expect to see any new shipping capacity until two years down the road. So everything between now and two years will be dependent on how the pandemic plays out,” he said.
Crewing Online News Team
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