Coronavirus outbreak: Hygiene does the trick for Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust

Updated: Apr 21, 2020, 07:39 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

After the wife of a CISF staffer contracted the virus, regular sanitisation and education of villagers keep Coronavirus at bay

Regular sanitisation in villages around JNPT limited Coronavirus cases
Regular sanitisation in villages around JNPT limited Coronavirus cases

The 18-bed special COVID-19 isolation facility at JNPT (Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust) is empty with not a single case reported in more than one week and sanitisation of neighbouring villages preventing an outbreak in the area.

The JNPT takes care of almost 12 project-affected villages located near the port. Sources in the JNPT told mid-day, "Initially, a one-and-half-year-old asthmatic daughter of a CISF staffer deployed at JNPT, showed symptoms of Coronavirus. Soon, the staffer and his older son were home-quarantined."

"The daughter tested negative but the mother had contracted the virus and was sent to a designated COVID-19 centre in Navi Mumbai in the second week of April. Extensive spraying of disinfectants, fogging and educating local villagers about the importance of social distancing and hygiene prevented an outbreak in and around the port," the source said. One villager had also contracted the virus and has recovered now.

The JNPT Officers' club was converted into an isolation ward. Thirteen ship crew completed the mandatory 14 days isolation at the JNPT facility. Asymptomatic patients with a recent history of travel are stamped for home quarantine. Officers in-charge manage the ward.

Reduced traffic
Meanwhile, though JNPT was unloading containers from inbound vessels during the lockdown, the number of trucks coming to and leaving the port came down from the daily average of 10,000 to around 3,000. The traffic has picked up again in the last few days with 7,500-8,000 trucks coming. With factories likely to open soon, the number will increase in the coming days.

A JNPT official said, "In the first week of the lockdown, the port remained operational as an essential service but without its support systems — Container Freight Stations (CFSs) and Custom House Agents (CHAs). The truck association and their service staff had to be brought under the essential services category so that the service could be continued."

IAS Sanjay Sethi, chairman, JNPT said, "I thank the CFSs and CHAs for their dedication and commitment and for coming together and supporting the Port in this challenging time."

A transporter pointed out that one of the concerns was about truck drivers and cleaners hailing from outside the city. JNPT had helped these workers with meals and potable washbasins made out of scrap material.

District collector speak
Nidhi Choudhary, district collector, Raigad said, "We had to keep some of the factories and units functional during the lockdown, including JNPT and 11 minor ports around Raigad district. Also, approximately 1,400 small-scale and few large-scale units in the district had to be kept operational so that production is not affected. Our intent was to maintain economic stability, which was done by taking adequate safety measures to avoid untoward panic and spread of Coronavirus, which we have managed to curtail till now."

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