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How will maritime deal with the “endemic”?

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COVID-19 is likely a permanent fixture, we need to keep up with its mutation like the flu

World economies suffered more than enough battering from COVID-19. Everyone is drained just by keeping up with the mutation through vaccination rollouts. The world has somehow adopted a resigned mindset to it.

Vaccination is not the silver bullet

The COVID-19 has seemingly completed its bell curve; from the genesis in China, its rippling effect towards other parts of the world, ending with the severity through infection numbers and death tolls. However, just as the world thought it has more or less kept up with the virus’ movements, pessimism overwhelmed the globe with the latest variant. The combined virus composition from the United Kingdom and India stopped the world’s optimism dead in its tracks.

Through various media predicted COVID-19 would likely be endemic, it remains unknown how many countries have declared so. Singapore “accepted” the virus is here to stay and chose to champion vaccination instead of using further band aids like lockdowns. It is certainly stockpiling vaccinations to protect its citizens – with campaigns urging the elderly and the students to be inoculated. Unfortunately, Singapore had patients infected despite vaccination.

Strengthen everyone from within

In maritime, one can only hope the reason for stockpiling is for precautionary measures since the virus is gradually gaining a position as a permanent fixture – like the Spanish Flu, Asian Flu, SARs and H1N1. Currently available vaccinations have since added countering components against the existing viruses.

In the case of COVID-19, the absence of evidence proving combined vaccines being sufficient to strengthen the immune system against the virus remains concerning. Ironically, the idea of combined vaccines stemmed from erroneously administered jabs. Nevertheless, it is still a fighting chance for seafarers – given their immune systems are the only lines of defence. The global maritime sector has to adopt a holistic approach to inoculate seafarers to sustain the world economy. 2020 was a year of crew change crisis from COVID-19. 2021 can be a year of reluctant acceptance.

Global Shipowner Alliance

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