Coronavirus Updates: Central Market Vendors Fear Coronavirus

Panic Grips local vendors at the Honiara Central Market

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Panic Grips local vendors at the Honiara Central Market.

BY JOY OFASIA

LOCAL vendors in the Honiara Central Market are convinced that the setting of the market place and its surroundings will not stand a chance if the coronavirus hits the capital of Solomon Islands.

It’s a major busy space for locals to buy food and other household items. Now, the Central Market vendors are anxiously waiting in fear despite recent widespread rumors of the virus reaching our shores.

Honiara City Council (HCC) Market Vendor Association officer, Betty Frazer vendors across the country are concerned about how their cash crops will survive if the Central Market is temporarily close or shut down in the wake of a rapid spread of Covid-19 or Coronavirus.

“For local vendors who rely on their cash crops for sales at the market, a major portion of their direct income will be affected, the option of a market closure by the Honiara City Council is likely possible.

“The Central Market provides an essential activity for the economic livelihood of local vendors and for food access for thousands in Honiara. The closure of the market has the potential to spoil vendors’ income and force people to go without food,” she added.

She said that in Honiara if the market is shut down many vendors would not be in business and without market sales.

“The uncertainty is of great concern to all of our vendors who really rely on these sales for their livelihoods and for consumers who rely on the vendors as a source of great food.”
“However, we are determined to keep markets open as long as possible despite the growing threat or rumors of the novel coronavirus in the country,” Betty said.

However, the first suspected Coronavirus case of Solomon Islands sent to Australia is Negative, according to the latest results confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) in Honiara.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Mrs. Pauline McNeil said the public can now rest assured that the results of the first suspected case are negative with no detection of coronavirus.

“The MHMS is awaiting result of the other two (2) samples sent to Australia last week. The general public will be informed when the result of these two (2) samples when available.

“The Ministry of Health and Medical Services received the results of the first suspected case from our collaborating partner, the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) based in Melbourne, Australia,” she stated.

Mrs. Pauline McNeil said while this is a very pleasing result, the MHMS would again call on the public to remain vigilant and practice good hygiene such as cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, wash your hands with clean water and soap at all times or use hand sanitizer, eat more fruits and vegetables, avoid crowded gatherings, maintain social distance at least one (1) meter apart and avoid non-essential traveling to coronavirus affected countries.

She would also like to appeal to the general public to avoid rumors, misinformation, and speculation, but get the accurate and facts information from MHMS.

“The MHMS will continues to work together with other Government Ministries, Partners, and Stakeholders to ensure our country is protected from Coronavirus,” The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health said.