Useful information and recommendations – COVID-19

10 Март 2020


This section contains useful links, information and recommendations for combating the spread of COVID-19.


Information about Coronavirus, published on the website of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Bulgaria and Recommendations for persons travelling to areas and countries with registered cases of COVID-19


European Commission's Directorate General for Mobility and Transport provided Advice for ship operators for preparedness and response to the outbreak of COVID-19. 


It is recommended to keep track of updated information about the spread of COVID-19 in EU/EEA and the UK at the following address:


How does Covid-19 spread?

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 metre away from a person who is sick.

The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell.


You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some precautions:

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Maintain at least 1 metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene.

Stay home if you feel unwell.

Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to places – especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease.


For people working at the ports:

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Wearing a face mask is not required for healthy people. You have to wear a medical mask if you are in contact with a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection or if you are coughing or sneezing. Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;


Recommended protective measures against the Covid-19:


  • Intensive cleaning of work and common areas with appropriate disinfectants
  • Restriction of access to the port terminal – passing/ admission is only allowed when necessary
  • Measuring the body temperature of the external visitors, entering the territory of the terminal, as well providing measures when establishing increased temperature ranges (an isolation in a separate room and contacting medical/ health care services);
  • Providing disinfectants for offices, closed spaces, vending / coffee machines;
  • Providing disposable disinfectant wipes individually for workers to clean their workspaces;
  • Workers whose workplace is exposed to frequent external physical contacts (loading and unloading services; gates, receptions, etc.) should be provided with individual protective equipment – masks, gloves, disinfectants;
  • Physical contact with other persons should be restricted as much as possible;
  • Identity documents are submitted without physical transmission
  • Communication and exchange of documents should be made by telephone or by other electronic communication methods, if that’s not possible – а space/ desk should be set up, keeping the distance below:


  • It is required to maintain the following distance from other person:
  • In outdoor spaces (outside): at least 1 m, preferably 2 m;
  • Indoors: preferably 2 m;
  • In other circumstances: at least 1 m, while observing the safety for carrying out port operations

It is recommended people who exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19, especially fever/ cough are not allowed to work and immediately to go for medical examination.



For ship crew/ cruise ship passengers:

Frequent hand washing with soap and water, antiseptic hand hygiene

Wearing medical face masks and respirators;

Avoiding close contact with people suffering acute respiratory infections.


A suspected case is:

  1. a patient with severe acute respiratory infection (that is, fever and cough requiring admission to hospital) AND with no other aetiology that fully explains the clinical presentation AND a history of travel to or residence in China or in another country with established community transmission1 of COVID-19 disease during the 14 days prior to symptom onset


  1. a patient with any acute respiratory illness AND at least one of the following during the 14 days prior to symptom onset: (a) contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 disease or (b) working in or visiting a healthcare facility where patients with confirmed or probable COVID-19 disease were being treated.


The suspected case should be immediately instructed to wear a medical mask, follow cough etiquette and practice hand hygiene; the suspected case should be isolated in a predefined isolation ward, cabin, room or quarters, with the door closed. Infection control measures should be applied in accordance with WHO guidance.

The disembarkation and transfer of the suspected case to an onshore healthcare facility for further assessment and laboratory testing should be arranged as soon as possible in cooperation with the health authorities at the port.

All persons entering the isolation area should be appropriately trained prior to entering that area, should apply standard precautions and contact and droplet precautions as described in WHO’s guidance for infection control.

All persons on board should be assessed for their risk of exposure and classified either as a close contact with a high risk of exposure or as having a low risk of exposure.


Detailed information is available at Operational considerations for managing COVID-19 cases/outbreak on board ships, developed by WHO and in circular letters of IMO .


Guidance for Ship Operators for the Protection of the Health of Seafarers, International Chamber of Shipping.


Joint Statement IMO-WHO on the Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak.


Operational considerations for managing COVID-19 cases or outbreaks on board ships, World Health Organization (WHO).


Guidelines on protection of health, repatriation and travel arrangements for seafarers, passengers and other persons on board ships, European Commission.