A wise precaution by the Solomon Islands government preventing entry to the country without being vaccinated.
Opening SI’s borders to let people arriving without having been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 could risk importations of new Covid variants that could possibly wreak havoc with the health of the population.
SI’s Attorney-General John Muria Jnr said yesterday that travelling passengers wishing to come to the Solomon Islands would need to be fully vaccinated before entering the country.
Furthermore even those allowed to enter the country already having had mandatory Covid-19 vaccines would have to serve the required quarantine period on arrival.
Tough penalties would be imposed on anyone breaching the new entry rules.
The Attorney-General said a much stiffer penalty if anyone slipped into the country and infected another with the virus brought with him/her.
The measures announced by the Attorney-General are in line with the travel restriction measures in force in most countries of the world and Australia having some of the toughest border control and passenger screening measures in the region.
In the state of NSW, in the Sydney region, 239 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases were acquired overnight and at least 70 of them were infectious in the community.
There were 110,962 Covid-19 tests processed in the past 24 hours.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said people living in a local government area of concern, from midnight tomorrow, could only move within a 5km radius of their home.
It is known that the Covid-19 known as the delta strain has been acquired in NSW.
The same delta strain has occurred in Fiji and the latest figures from Suva indicate the death toll yesterday had exceeded 200 with more than 25, 069 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic first started in Fiji in April 2021
What do we know about the delta variant?
According to Yale Medical News, from which I quote.
A major concern right now is Delta, a highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus strain, which was first identified in India last December. It then swept rapidly through that country and Great Britain as well. The first Delta case in the United States was diagnosed in March and it is now the dominant strain in the U.S.
Inci Yildirim, MD, PhD, a Yale Medicine pediatric infectious diseases specialist and a vaccinologist, isn’t surprised by what’s happening. “All viruses evolve over time and undergo changes as they spread and replicate,” she says.
But one thing that is unique about Delta is how quickly it is spreading, says F. Perry Wilson, MD, a Yale Medicine epidemiologist. Around the world, he says, “Delta will certainly accelerate the pandemic.”
From what we know so far, people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus appear to have protection against Delta, but anyone who is unvaccinated and not practicing preventive strategies is at risk for infection by the new variant, the doctors say.
Here are three essential things you need to know about the Delta variant.
1. Delta is more contagious than the other virus strains.
The first Delta case was identified in December 2020, and the strain spread rapidly, soon becoming the dominant strain of the virus in both India and then Great Britain. By the end of July, Delta was the cause of more than 80% of new U.S. COVID-19 cases, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called this version of the virus “the fastest and fittest.”
2. Unvaccinated people are at risk.
People who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are most at risk.
3. Delta could lead to 'hyperlocal outbreaks.'
If Delta continues to move fast enough to accelerate the pandemic, Dr. Wilson says the biggest questions will be about transmissibility—how many people will get the Delta variant and how fast will it spread?
Vaccination is the best protection against Delta.
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself from Delta is to get fully vaccinated, the doctors say. At this point, that means if you get a two-dose vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna, for example, you must get both shots and then wait the recommended two-week period for those shots to take full effect.
End of quote.
In separate news today, the National Referral Hospital (NRH) will be tightening up its COVID-19 alert this week.
This will involve closure and strict monitoring of all entry points into the hospital, a statement from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services said yesterday.
The public car parking area at the Eye Centre will be closed off for the duration of the alert period with strict management of in and outflow of vehicles to and fro emergency to accommodate space for two tents that will be set up for COVID-19 screening and triaging (determining priority patients).
All normal Outpatient Department Treatment (ODT) will be referred to Honiara clinics with referrals to the hospital to be managed mostly for only the very sick.
All patients will undergo questioning as part of the screening and possible COVID-19 testing based on responses received.
As usual, in such a situation, the number of visitors to the hospital will be limited and crowding at the mortuary will be prohibited.
Dr George Malefoasi, NRH Chief Executive Officer (CEO) explained that the undertaking is crucial for the hospital’s preparedness and actual response to a community transmission situation.
“The recent incident of contact by sea- port COVID-19 front-liners with crews of MV Papa Mau Pau who tested positive for COVID-19, 10 days after leaving Honiara Port with ongoing contact tracing, quarantining and testing of all other secondary contacts had led the NRH Executive to activate COVID-19 alert,” Explained Dr Malefoasi.
He added, “It was a relief to learn of the negative COVID-19 test results of front-liners who made primary contacts with the vessel’s crew. However, we must not be complacent with the virus; anything can happen thus endorsement of the COVID-19 alert.”
With this the NRH kindly, advice the public to adhere to the following, that only emergency cases be taken to NRH with all other non- emergency cases to Honiara City clinics to prevent any disappointment.
All family members and friends of NRH Patients are kindly requested to limit visitation to the hospital and avoid crowding at the Morgue.
The NRH Executive apologizes for any inconvenience this will cause but it is critical for the preservation of our health in these difficult and uncertain times.
Sources. The UK Guardian, Radio New Zealand, Solomon Star News and Yale University Medical.
In respect of the NRH tightening its Covid-19 alertness measures, this is considered essential and welcomed.
Here in Thailand very strict entry and testing measures are in place at all hospitals, clinics, heath centres and dental clinics and have been rigidly enforced since the start of the coronavirus pandemic as early as February 2020.
All patients visiting a hospital are tested on arrival with a temperature check and if below 37c are given a colour coded sticker (the colour of the sticker changed daily) which is then put on their clothes and must be worn at all times until leaving the hospital.
With the advent of the delta variant of Covid=19 is necessity of obtaining vaccinations is considered vitally important and MHMS advise in the Solomon Islands should be followed and heeded by those who are still to get themselves fully vaccinated. Vaccinations are available for all, including all those over 18 yrs.
The situation in Thailand is not yet as fortunate as vaccines for all are not yet fully available and the Covid-19 infection rate is concerning. Today, Thursday, the fresh infection rate exceeded 17,500 cases for the country as a whole, where the population is 66 million.