Preventing and controlling the risk of importing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has rapidly become a major concern. In addition to air freight, ocean-going ships play a non-negligible role in spreading COVID-19 due to frequent visits to countries with infected populations. This research introduces a method to dynamically assess the infection risk of ships based on a data-driven approach. It automatically identifies the ports and countries these ships approach based on their Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) data and a spatio-temporal density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise (ST_DBSCAN) algorithm. We derive daily and 14 day cumulative ship exposure indexes based on a series of country-based indices, such as population density, cumulative confirmed cases, and increased rate of confirmed cases. These indexes are classified into high-, middle-, and low-risk levels that are then coded as red, yellow, and green according to the health Quick Response (QR) code based on the reference exposure index of Wuhan on April 8, 2020. This method was applied to a real container ship deployed along a Eurasian route. The results showed that the proposed method can trace ship infection risk and provide a decision support mechanism to prevent and control overseas imported COVID-19 cases from international shipping.
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