[WATCH] Coronavirus fears prompt Maltese port workers to refuse to handle incoming cargo

Maltese port workers refuse to board vessels that have come from Italian ports to discharge cargo over coronavirus fears

Eurocargo Malta is operated by Grimaldi Lines. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Eurocargo Malta is operated by Grimaldi Lines. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Coronavirus fears prompt Maltese port workers to refuse to handle incoming cargo

Maltese chandlers and port workers in Paola and Valletta have stopped their operations over coronavirus fears, refusing to board vessels coming from Italy to unload cargo. 

MaltaToday is informed that port workers are complaining of a lack of medical staff in the area as they handle cargo that has arrived from Italian ports. 

Port workers say they will not handle cargo unless in supervision and after clearance of medical doctors. Cargo had to be unloaded on Monday between 8am and 1pm.  

The cargo in question concerns retail food and other supplies. Maltese port workers claim they are not convinced with documents showing that the vessels have been given the all-clear.

Maria Grazia Onorato is the flagship of the Onorato Group. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Maria Grazia Onorato is the flagship of the Onorato Group. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Three vessels are not discharging their cargo in Valletta and are threatening to return will full cargo on board to Italy. Two of the vessels in question are Eurocargo Malta, which is operated by Grimaldi Lines and is currently stationed at Battery Wharf and Maria Grazia Onorato, the flagship of the Onorato Group which is currently stationed at Deep Water Quay 3.

Both vessels appeared to be packed with cargo. 

Six people have died in Italy due to the rise in new COVID-19 cases since Saturday. Italy has by far the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe, with 219.

Lombardy, where the spread is said to have originated, has been put into lockdown and about 50,000 people have been ordered to stay indoors as strict quarantine restrictions have been introduced.

The new strain of coronavirus, which originated last year in Hubei province in China, causes a respiratory disease called Covid-19. China has seen more than 76,000 infections and 2,442 deaths.

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