From ILWU Canada – March 11, 2020

At the time of this notice the current information we have is there are 69 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, 27 in BC and one death in BC from North Vancouver.

Preventative measures that we are required to do often all day do not change. Wash your hands often or use alcohol-based hand rub, do not touch your face with unwashed hands and try to maintain a safe distance from anyone that is sick, one metre/three feet is recommended. Practice good hygiene and that will help to keep you and your families safe.

Vessels call in at the 96hr and 24hr mark to report on any issues they may be having on board, including sickness. If at that time a crew member is sick the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) gets involved. PHAC will require the Captain of the vessel to answer a series of well-developed questions designed to keep out any number of infectious diseases that PHAC looks for to quarantine a vessel. We have had zero cases of COVID-19 reported or diagnosed on any vessel coming into our waters to berth at our terminals.

The time it takes a vessel to travel from Asia to reach our waters, if a crew member was sick, they would by that time be showing signs of infection. Vessels travelling from the USA have just as stringent controls in place as we do here. We did have a situation at a terminal where a crew member was taken away in an ambulance after being cleared by PHAC. This crew member was then given the all clear at the hospital, indicating a working system in place that I have complete confidence in.

For those that need to board vessels, interaction with the crew should be kept at a minimum for your safety as well as theirs. Wash your hands with soap and water after you disembark the ship.

ILWU Canada has been in constant contact with the Federal government as well as the Provincial government over the last few weeks and will continue communication with the needed departments.

From the World Health Organization:

How COVID-19 Spreads:

When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects – such as desks, tables or telephones. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects – and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. If they are standing within one meter of a person with COVID-19 they can catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them. In other words, COVID-19 spreads in a similar way to flu. Most persons infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover. However, some go on to experience more serious illness and may require hospital care. Risk of serious illness rises with age: people over 40 seem to be more vulnerable than those under 40. People with weakened immune systems and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.

Your workplace Health and Safety committees are working or should be working on safe work practices in light of COVID-19, for the safety of all workers and their families.

Stay safe and stay well.

In Strength and Solidarity,

Rob Ashton, President ILWU Canada


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