The Chinese cargo ship that raised concerns when it was announced to be heading to unload its shipment freight at the Port of Tripoli, arrived near the Port of Beirut on Tuesday morning, February 4th. After the freighter reached Lebanese waters, Public Health Minister Hamad Hasan took to Twitter to assure the public that it was virus-free.
In the north, people gathered on Tuesday morning at the Port of Tripoli to protest against the docking of the possibly-hazardous vessel at their city's port, after its departure from its initial destination, Beirut.
As a preventive measure, the ship, which had been unloading goods in Egypt before heading to Lebanon, was instructed not to dock at the Port of Beirut by Lebanese authorities. It was stopped 3 miles away from the shore, where Lebanese health officials were sent to monitor and perform checkups on its crew.
At around 8:30 AM, Minister Hasan explained this process in his tweet and assured that "the ship from the Far East, which arrived in the morning to Lebanon, did not dock at the Port of Beirut."
"We are waiting for the result and we will keep everyone updated with all the details," he concluded.
About an hour later, he followed up with a second tweet in which he shared the results of the examinations: "The quarantine team, which uncovered the crew of the ship coming from the Far East, confirms that the crew is in good health," he announced.
فريق الحجر الصحي الذي كشف على طاقم الباخرة القادمة من الشرق الاقصى يؤكد ان الطاقم في صحة جيدة وقد ورست الباخرة في مرفأ بيروت وخضعت للتفتيش مجددا من قبل الامن العام وتبين ان الباخرة تعتمد المعايير الصحية العالمية— Hamad Hassan _حمد حسن (@Hamad_hassan20) February 4, 2020
لذا نؤكد مجددا اننا سنعمل دائما لما فيه مصلحة للمواطن وسلامته..
After it became clear by the health experts that the ship was coronavirus-free, it was allowed to dock at the Beirut Port and was subject to inspection again by the General Security; as expected, and declared by Minister Hasan, "the ship adopted international health standards."
The same minister has also previously explained that the Chinese freighter "had left the Far East more than seventeen days ago." That is to say that the incubation period of the disease (between 1 and 14 days) has already passed.
In other words, had there been any infections of the Wuhan coronavirus aboard that ship, the symptoms would have already emerged by this time. Additionally, Dr. Hasan affirmed that none of the crew members aboard the ship were Chinese.
Furthermore, as the minister declared, the ship had also crossed several ports before arriving in Lebanon, the last of which was Egypt's Port Said, where it was also confirmed that the ship's crew was in good health condition.
In the same context, he assured the Lebanese public that there is no need to panic about goods imported from China.
"The World Health Organization confirms that the coronavirus does not survive on the surfaces of things such as letters and parcels, and is transmitted only by living objects," Minister Hasan noted.
Finally, he urged Lebanese people to refrain from spreading rumors and false news regarding the virus, "especially in the critical situation that Lebanon is currently in."