The World Health Organization (WHO) published an interim guidance for global surveillance of novel coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV) in order to help Member States adapt or implement surveillance systems and to facilitate the reporting of cases to WHO. In several countries, measures have already been taken in order to prevent the virus from spreading.
Current estimates of the incubation period of the virus range from 2–10 days, but more information about the mode of transmission is needed to confirm this. Experts are also still unclear whether transmission can occur from asymptomatic individuals or during the incubation period. The WHO offers standard recommendations to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including regular hand washing, covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Where possible, WHO advises avoiding close contact with persons showing symptoms of respiratory illness, including coughing and sneezing.
On the basis of the information currently available, The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) considers that:
- the potential impact of 2019-nCoV outbreaks is high;
- further global spread is likely;
- there is currently a moderate likelihood of infection for EU/EEA travellers visiting Wuhan;
- there is a high likelihood of case importation into countries with the greatest volume of people travelling to and from Wuhan (i.e. countries in Asia);
- there is a moderate likelihood of detecting cases imported into EU/EEA countries;
- adherence to appropriate infection prevention and control practices, particularly in healthcare settings in EU/EEA countries with direct links to Wuhan, means that the likelihood of a case reported in the EU resulting in secondary cases within the EU/EEA is low.
EMPA advises all European Pilots to follow the development of this outbreak closely and to adhere to recommendations issued by national and regional health authorities.
For further information, visit the websites of WHO, ECDC, the French Ministry of Ecology and the German federal agency Robert Koch Institute. The French Federation of Maritime Pilots (FFPM) sent out Practical recommendation for application on board vessels and How to deal with a suspect case infection on board a ship to all pilot stations in France and in the overseas territories.