Coronavirus (COVID-19) - WHO declares Europe epicenter of pandemic and nations close borders


The World Health Organsiation (WHO) declares Europe the new epicenter of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Now many countries are closing borders to contain the spread of the disease.

On Friday, 13th March, WHO declares Europe as the new epicenter of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak , with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China. 

More than 132,000 cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, from 123 countries and territories and 5,000 people have lost their lives.

More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic. Italy continues to be the hardest hit outside of China. 

WHO is encouraged that many countries are now acting on the 8 pillars of WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan; most countries now have a national plan; most are taking a multi-sectoral approach and most have laboratory testing capacity.

WHO's message to countries : take a comprehensive approach - Not testing alone. Not contact tracing alone. Not quarantine alone. Not social distancing alone. Do it all. 

As a result of the above situation, many countries around the world since Saturday, announced that they are closing their borders, impose strict entry and quarantine requirements and restrict large gatherings or imposing drastic measures to contain the spread of this outbreak. 

The situation is evolving very quickly and BIMCO is attempting to gather the latest information possible for our members. As we know of now, we have the following information with regard to countries closing their borders and/or declaring the country in a state of emergency: 

  • Poland, the Czech Republic and Denmark - borders closed
  • Portugal - border with Spain close on Monday, 16th March
  • Germany imposing temporary controls on its borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg on Monday, 16th March
  • Slovakia - declared a state of emergency
  • Romania - declaring a state of emergency 
  • Spain and France - announced drastic countrywide restrictions over the weekend. 
  • Argentina announcing on Sunday, 15 March that they would close their borders for at least 15 days
  • South Africa - declared a national state of disaster and shutting down ports.
  • Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania planning to close their borders

BIMCO is attempting to provide members with the latest information possible via implementation measures by various countries but as the situation is evolving and changing all the time, BIMCO would urge members to also contact the local agent of the ports they are visiting to get the latest update of local measures imposed.

In addition, WHO, together with the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, has on the 13th March, launched the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, to enable individuals and organizations to contribute.

Important BIMCO source of coronavirus information: 

Ships port & voyage planning

Source: BBC, the New York Times and WHO 


Ai Cheng Foo-Nielsen
in Copenhagen, DK


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