Pacific countries taking strict measures to prevent COVID -19
There is still no confirmed case of Coronavirus for the Solomon Islands.
The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Mrs. Pauline McNeil revealed this during a talkback show at the SIBC leaf hut yesterday, Sunday, in Honiara.
Quoting what Mrs McNeil said during the talkback show:
“There is still no confirmed case of COVID-19 as yet from the two suspected cases.
“The country doesn’t have any confirmed case of COVID-19 but we have two suspected cases and that doesn’t mean that they are confirmed as yet until we have tests returned.
“The samples have been sent to Melbourne, Australia so the Ministry is waiting for the return of the two samples then we will know of the results and then we can say there is a confirmed case in the country.
“For now it’s only suspected cases,” said,” Mrs. McNeil.
“For the two suspected cases, one sample was sent on Friday and the other one was sent yesterday to Melbourne Australia for testing.
“Laboratory Director of the National Referral hospital Dr. Alfred Dofai said that the results for the suspected cases that were sent overseas for testing usually takes more than 72 hrs before the results are sent back to the country.
“We are still following up on the results for the two suspected cases,” he said.
Source: Solomon Star News.
In the Solomon Islands, the government has said it was taking all necessary and proactive measures to counter the entry and spread of the virus.
Considering such proactive measures one has seen to-date, the government has established an oversight committee to address the Covid-19 threat.
The oversight committee comprises of senior officials and experts from various government ministries and agencies.
Measures in place at points of entry include travel restrictions to deny entry for travellers from a list of restricted countries.
They also include quarantine of travellers who arrived within the 14 day prior to being in any of the affected countries with daily monitoring.
All passengers entering the country will be screened for fever and symptoms of measles or Covid-19.
The committee is also conducting public awareness on Covid-19 and measles through various media outlets.
According to the government, China has been assisting by providing scientific and medical information on the virus.
Revised public health declaration cards that all international visitors and returning residents must fill on arrival and screening of passengers with fever and/or symptoms of measles or Covid-19.
The government further encourages the public to exercise responsibility and issues a stern warning to refrain from creating false rumours that might cause fear and create panic.
Anyone found to be circulating or publishing false information, will be charged under the relevant laws.
In separate developments, Pacific countries are continuing to take active measures to counter the entry and spread of Covid-19 coronavirus, amid the global pandemic.
Australia has became the latest country in the Asia Pacific region to announce strict Covid-19 (coronavirus) measures on Sunday (March 15) , with new requirements that all arrivals from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days.
"To help stay ahead of this curve, we will impose a universal self-isolation requirement on all arrivals to Australia and it is effective from midnight tonight," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a press conference in Sydney.
Australia's decision comes a day after New Zealand announced the same measures, in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said were "the widest-ranging and toughest border restrictions of any country in the world."
Australia has reported more than 280 confirmed cases of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, including three deaths.
In the Philippines, checkpoints around the capital Manila were set up on Sunday for the start of a month-long lockdown aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus.
All domestic flights to and from Manila were also cancelled, and strict social distancing guidelines were put in place in the area, which covers 16 cities and one municipality. These include the cancellation of Catholic masses, reduced mall hours and restrictions on the number of passengers in public vehicles.
The country had reported a total of 111 Covid-19 infections as of Saturday night, including eight deaths.
In China, where the global pandemic originated, 20 new coronavirus cases and 10 new Covid-19 deaths were reported on Sunday.
Of the new cases, 16 were returning residents who were infected abroad, indicating a slowdown in locally transmitted infections.
Papua New Guinea is requiring 14-day quarantine and medical clearances for all incoming travellers from countries affected by coronavirus.
Prime Minister James Marape has also announced 60-day bans on cruise ships, and on official overseas travel by all public servants.
Mr Marape addressed the nation on the pandemic, saying while PNG has no reported cases of covid-19, the risk of the virus reaching the country remained high.
Travellers from Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and China among others will have to complete a 14-day quarantine outside the country.
Mr Marape said a surveillance system was monitoring the movement within the country of visitors and returning residents.
PNG has also banned the movement of people across its land border to Indonesia and sea borders between Bougainville and Solomon Islands.
Meanwhile, quarantine facilities have been established in Port Moresby and Lae, and are being established in Rabaul and Mount Hagen.
Vanuatu's Ministry of Internal Affairs has banned all public servants from going on all overseas travel until further notice.
Also as part of the country's response to the covid-19 threat, all Vanuatu nationals on overseas travel will be quarantined for 14 days before returning home.
Samoa's Minister of Education said all schools would have to be closed down if coronavirus reaches the country.
Loau Keneti Sio said the government and his ministry had policies to prepare for dangerous diseases reaching Samoa's shores.
He said the government would have no option but to close down all schools in the country if the virus arrived.
The minister said Samoa does not have any reported cases of covid-19.
Source, Radio New Zealand