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Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Scuba Diving Boats

Updated: Jul 8

Protect yourself and your community from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019). Everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy.

Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Scuba Diving Boats - Red Sea Project

What is COVID-19 Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, and believed to have initially spread from animals to humans but now is spreading from person-to-person contact. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Typically, respiratory viruses are most contagious when an individual is most symptomatic, but there have been reports of the virus spreading when the affected individual does not show any symptoms.


How it spreads / Symptoms

Transmission between humans happens when someone comes into contact with an infected person's secretions, such as droplets in a cough.

Depending on how virulent the virus is, a cough, sneeze or handshake could cause exposure. The virus can also be transmitted by coming into contact with something an infected person has touched and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. Caregivers can sometimes be exposed by handling a patient's waste, according to the CDC.


The virus appears to mainly spread from person to person. Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with corona virus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.


COVID-19 - Copy rights; www.cdc.gov/


Currently there is no vaccine for COVID-19. The best measure is to avoid coming in contact with the virus

Protect Yourself:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

  • It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.

Recommended Strategies for Scuba Diving Boats:

  • Before leaving the Harbors; Clients or Team members who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not join boat trips (Daily/Liveaboard) until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). This must be communicated with team members and expected clients enough time before their trip date.

  • Clients or Team members who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival on board or become sick during the day should be separated from others and be sent home immediately. Sick individuals should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).

  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by clients and Crew.

  • Instruct employees and clients to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.

  • Check up your water tanks and desalinization unites and make sure they're well maintained.

  • Avoid using any uncovered water tanks (e.g. Masks Tanks, Camera Tanks or rinse tanks)

  •  Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in Kitchen, Toilets, Bars and Cabins. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in shared spaces to encourage hand hygiene. 

  • Provide disinfection spray to be used by divers each and every time before and after the dives to clean their masks and regulator 2nd stage.

  • Provide enough gloves, barriers and protection glasses on board.

  • Consider regular check up and controlling food and beverage areas.


Perform routine environmental cleaning:

  1. All frequently touched surfaces in the boat, such as tables, workstations, countertops, and doorknobs should be cleaned routinely.

  2. No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.

  3. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

Advise your Divers and Crew before arriving to take certain steps:

  1. Check theTraveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which they will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China.

  2.  Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and encourage them to stay home if they are sick.

  3.  Ensure every individual on boat who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify the responsible on board and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.

Monitoring

Keeping everyone on board Safe: What to do if an individual shows flu-like symptoms

  1. It is highly recommended that any individual who are showing flu-like symptoms should be excluded from the dive operation until they are symptom free. 

  2. Provide enough napkins or tissues to use when they cough or sneeze

In case of bodily fluid event: 

  • Ensure the employee who is cleaning up the area is using Personal Protective Equipment.

  • Dispose of any food that has been exposed

  • Ensure any utensils that might have been exposed are cleaned and sanitized

  • Frequently clean and sanitize the area to include the floor, walls and any other objects contaminated by the incident

  • Properly dispose any of the equipment that was used to clean up the area

References:

- https://www.cdc.gov/

- Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Situation Report – 38. WHO

- Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China -  the China Medical Treatment Expert Group for Covid-19* The New England Journal of Medicine

- Rapid risk assessment: Outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): increased transmission globally – fifth update. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control





Author: Ahmed Fouad

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