Almost entire crew of cargo ship COVID positive off Nauru

The entire crew except for one person on a cargo vessel in Nauru waters have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Government of Nauru.

Thirteen out of 14 crew members on the vessel MV Papamau are confirmed to have COVID.

MV Papamau has been in Nauru for two weeks and all crew were told to undergo a 14-day quarantine to comply with the country’s ‘Capture & Contain’ procedures.

In a statement, Nauru’s president Lionel Aingimea said all local doctors, public health workers and port barge operators were protected by wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) such as coverall suits, goggles, N95 masks, and gloves.

He said when the samples were taken and transported to the lab for testing, all safety protocols and safety precautions were taken to ensure the staff were safe and Nauru remained safe.

There is currently no COVID in Nauru and it is one of the world’s only countries to not have recorded a single case.

Samples were taken from all crew on the cargo vessel and initial batch screening results indicated the likely presence of COVID.

Final test results were confirmed by the RON Hospital laboratory.

The statement said none of the crew have any symptoms, and all remain well. All crew remain on board the ship and isolated from any contact with Nauru.

All vessels coming to Nauru, in particular from Fiji, are treated as high risk, and the health teams observe safety protocols.

The president added that the normal testing procedures require all health workers who board the vessel to go directly from the ship into quarantine until cleared, and that “out of an abundance of caution, we have today also placed other workers such as the barge operators and van drivers into quarantine.”

Mr Aingimea said there was no danger and no cause for panic. “Nauru is still safe and as far as we know, we remain COVID-free.”

As the cases were detected at sea, they will not be recorded as Nauru cases.

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